LIVING THE ZONE: Physical III

New study shows the benefit of 15 minutes of exercise a day!

My third blog in the series asked the question of “How much exercise is enough to induce positive changes in the body to prevent the chronic diseases of lifestyle?”

Up until two weeks ago the answer of 150 minutes per week of aerobic type exercise at a moderate intensity (30 minutes five days a week, breathing heavily but able to talk), was the minimum that one should undertake and that less than this threshold was not of clear value to the body.

But that is what I love about science, just when you think that we have all the answers, that’s exactly when a new study comes along and blows conventional wisdom out of the water!

In an observational study of more than 400 000 Taiwanese people, researchers followed these folk for an average of 8 years. Based on the answers to a questionnaire about their lifestyle habits people were categorized into groups that described their activity patterns as inactive, lightly active, moderately active, vigorous and very vigorously active.

The findings of this study showed that even 15 minutes of moderate exercise a day (like walking) or 90 odd minutes a week was associated with a 3 year increase in life expectancy and enjoyed a 14% reduction in risk of death by any cause compared with a sedentary lifestyle. Besides this finding, each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise (up to 100 minutes a day) reduced the risk of death by an additional 4%. The study also found that people who got 30 minutes of activity a day added about 4 extra years to their life expectancy compared with their inactive counterparts.

These new findings are important, as we know that most people fail to meet the 150 minutes a week guideline. This is the first study that has found that even small amounts of moderate exercise like walking, swimming, cycling or dancing have significant health benefits. And, as we may find it psychologically easier to put 15 minutes of time aside to get our dose, perhaps more people will be encouraged to exercise.

This is however no excuse to do the bare minimum, or scale back if you are already complying with the 30 minutes a day guideline, as most studies show that when it comes to moderate exercise, more is better!

So grab those tackies, and get that 15 minutes of exercise under the belt, it will add years to your life….and then some!

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