Long Life and Health
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Fitness

One-Minute Burst of Activity Can Add Years to Your Life!

New research suggests that doing three one-minute bursts of very intense physical activity every day can reduce your overall risk of death. 

In the study, which was published in Nature Medicine, researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia analyzed the everyday physical activity of more than 25,000 adults who reported that they didn’t exercise. 

The participants wore activity monitors on their wrists for seven days, and their health events and outcomes were then tracked for an average of about seven years.

The researchers found that people who had gotten just one to two minutes of vigorous physical activity from everyday activities—not dedicated exercise — had a 38% to 40% lower risk of dying during the study period, compared to people who got no such vigorous physical activity.

This held true for death by any cause, including cancer.

Getting this small amount of intense physical activity was linked to an even greater risk reduction of dying from cardiovascular disease — about 48%.

The key takeaway from the study was the fact that longevity increased not from going to the gym or other dedicated exercise – something few of us get enough of — but by picking up the pace of the things you normally do every day like walking, climbing the stairs, or doing chores.

The lead researcher on the study,  Emmanuel Stamatakis,  said that all of this means that for people who cannot find the time or be persuaded to do regular exercise, if they would just expend more energy doing their regular tasks each day, they could significantly improve their health.

“We’re shifting the discussion to everyday living—to activities people do anyway,” says Stamatakis. “Only a small minority in the population do regular leisure time exercise. We need to come up with more options for these people to gain some benefits from physical activity.”

He says that while walking the dog, shopping, walking from here to there, if you just got a little more vigorous for only a minute, two or three times – exerting yourself to the point that you are somewhat out of breath and can’t talk – could radically improve your lifespan.

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