A mere 10-minute power walk every day could add years to your life. A new study of nearly 5,000 adults found that death rates plummeted as physical activity increased. Just 10, 20, or 30 minutes of extra daily exercise reduced annual mortality rates by approximately 7%, 13% and 17% respectively.
According to Study Finds, the research was based on Americans ages 40 to 85 who wore accelerometers on their waist for a week.
“The potential public health benefit of changing daily physical activity by a manageable amount is not yet known. In this study, we used accelerometer measurements to examine the association of physical activity and mortality in a population-based sample of U.S. adults,” wrote the study authors. “These findings support implementing evidence-based strategies to improve physical activity for adults and potentially reduce deaths.”
The researchers found that by increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by 10 minutes each day approximately 6.9 % of annual deaths could be averted. That results in 111,174 preventable deaths each year, according to the National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics.
And more exercise prevented even more deaths, according to researchers. The number almost doubled and tripled to 209,459 and 272,297 preventable deaths for 20 minutes and 30 minutes of physical activity, respectively. The benefits were similar among men, women, and various ethnic groups. This analysis illustrates the potential impact of public health efforts to increase average physical activity levels.
The volunteers were followed for 10 years, during which time 1,165 deaths occurred. The researchers used a statistical method called PAF, which stands for population attributable fraction, to estimate the proportion of deaths in the U.S. that could have been prevented with modest increases in physical activity.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to estimate the number of preventable deaths through physical activity using accelerometer-based measurements among U.S. adults while recognizing that increasing physical activity may not be possible for everyone,” said the authors of the study that was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), previous studies have shown that physical activity improves human health and reduces the risk for several chronic diseases that cause premature death, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. For healthy adults, doctors recommend at least 150 minutes of activity or 75 minutes of moderate or vigorous aerobic activity, such as power walking, each week, says Study Finds.
“A wide range of activities like walking for exercise, cycling for fun or transportation, working on cardio machines and playing sports like tennis or golf are all great ways to add more physical activity to your day,” said lead author Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, a researcher at the NCI.
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