New Research Finds Exercising Just 11 Minutes Per Day Could Save Your Life

New Research Finds Exercising Just 11 Minutes Per Day Could Save Your Life

Exercising can seem daunting, but it's no secret that it holds many health benefits and can even prevent early death and disease.

While it was previously recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, new research found cutting that number in half could offer some amazing benefits as well - possibly enough benefits to save your life.

According to a press release, researchers with the University of Cambridge conducted a systemic review of all the published research on the topic and found something interesting: just 11 minutes of brisk walking each day seemed to have a profound impact on mortality rates.

In the end, they reviewed 196 peer-reviewed articles that involved 30 million participants from 94 large study cohorts to create the largest analysis to date of the association between physical activity levels and risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death.

Interestingly, researchers discovered that, outside of work, the vast majority of people (2 out of 3) reported activity levels below the recommended 150 minutes per week. Less than one in 10 people managed to maintain 300 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity per week.

While getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week resulted in the most profound health outcomes, researchers also noticed that even getting half that amount offered great benefits. According to the press release, achieving just 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week was associated with a 23% lower risk of early death. To put that into perspective, you'd need to get in less than 11 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per day to get those benefits.

The analysis is good news for people who might struggle to get in the full 150 minutes of activity per week. Doing less can still offer some great health benefits.

In the press release, Dr. Soren Brage said: "If you are someone who finds the idea of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week a bit daunting, then our findings should be good news. Doing some physical activity is better than doing none. This is also a good starting position – if you find that 75 minutes a week is manageable, then you could try stepping it up gradually to the full recommended amount."

Per the analysis, around 11 minutes of moderate activity per day was enough to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 17%, and reduce the risk of developing cancer by 3-26%, depending on the specific type of cancer observed.

Dr. Leandro Garcia from Queen's University Belfast said in the press release: "Moderate activity doesn't have to involve what we normally think of exercise, such as sports or running. Sometimes, replacing some habits is all that is needed. For example, try to walk or cycle to your work or study place instead of using a car, or engage in active play with your kids or grand kids. Doing activities that you enjoy and that are easy to include in your weekly routine is an excellent way to become more active."

Ultimately, the research found that if everyone in the analysis had participated in 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, around one in ten (10%) early deaths would have been prevented. That's a pretty significant number for such a small time commitment!

The systemic review, titled "Non-occupational physical activity and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality outcomes: a dose–response meta-analysis of large prospective studies," was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this year.

You can read the full review here.

Malorie Thompson

Malorie works as a writer and editor in Northern California. She's passionate about food, conscious living, animal welfare, and conservation. She's worked with a variety of publications in different sectors but is happiest covering topics close to her heart. When not at her laptop, Malorie can be found enjoying picnics on the beach, hiking in the redwoods, and spending time with her rescue pup, Jax.

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