Moving For One Minute Three Times A Day Can Extend Your Life

Many people fail to get enough vigorous exercise, which is one of the best ways to improve their health and longevity. The federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities are not met by more than a quarter of Americans. Researchers suggest that daily three one-muscle bursts of physical activity can reduce death risk.

Using data from the U.K., researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia used a study published in Nature Medicine to examine the daily physical activity of more than 25,000 adults. They wore activity monitors on their wrists for seven days and were followed for an average of seven years.

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A study found that people who engaged in vigorous physical activity just three or four times a day during the week wearing an activity monitor had a 38% to 40% lower risk of dying during the study period than those who did not. Death from any cause, including cancer, was the same.

Emmanuel Stamatakis, professor of physical activity and population health at the University of Sydney and lead author of the study, believes that stepping up everyday activities vigorously—using so much energy that you can’t speak comfortably—can have significant health benefits.

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Stamatakis said, “We’re shifting the discussion to everyday living activities people do anyway. Only a small minority of the population do regular leisure-time exercise. We must develop more options for these people to benefit from physical activity.”

Despite being observational, this study supports other research that shows even short periods of vigorous physical exercise can improve health. The study has inspired Stamatakis to exercise more vigorously during the day, including fast walks for a few minutes. These short bursts of activity seemed to benefit even exercisers. In the future, Stamatakis hopes that research like his will encourage experts to consider encouraging people to incorporate vigorous physical exercise into their daily routines.