Living a sedentary lifestyle might kill you. Every bit of activity counts and a new study shows that walking for at least 10 minutes a day can actually help people live longer.

Previous studies have already demonstrated that a sedentary lifestyle or the lack of physical activity is detrimental to health and can contribute to the risk of developing heart disease. Ezra Fishman from the University of Pennsylvania found that people need not spend a lot of time in the gym or perform extreme workouts to live longer. Even with small body movements while doing routine tasks can already be beneficial to health.

Fishman and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University, the National Institute on Aging and the National Cancer Institute analyzed data from around 3,000 individuals 50 to 79 years old who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For the survey, the participants wore accelerometers, which are activity trackers to record whenever they move, for one week. The CDC compiled the activity data and compared these with deaths recorded for the next eight years.

Striking Findings

The study, which was published in the Journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, shows that replacing inactivity with just light activity is linked with a longer life span.

The researchers found that even among people who exercise, those who spend less time sitting down and more time moving tend to live longer.

Those who did physical activities like walking, washing dishes and other household chores had better longevity than those who spent most of their time just sitting down.

Just Adding 10 Minutes Of Physical Activity A Day Could Make A Difference

The findings show that just adding at least 10 minutes a day of physical activity could benefit the health. Notably, swapping 30 minutes of inactivity with light to moderate physical activity had better results.

"You didn't have to even get a good sweat to experience the reduced likelihood of mortality," Fishman says.

The study sheds light on the importance of activity, not necessarily vigorous exercise, in the prevention of premature death and the occurrence of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems and stroke.

The CDC says that adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or jogging a week.

Photo: Magnus Bråth | Flickr

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.