Walking for just an extra 10 MINUTES each day could add years to your life, scientists say


Walking for just an extra 10 MINUTES each day could add years to your life, scientists say

  • Increasing older adults’ activity by 10 minutes a day could cut deaths by 7%
  • Meanwhile, 20 and 30-minute increases would slash rates by 13% and 17%
  • Experts say finding support more exercise for group to potentially reduce deaths


Walking for an extra ten minutes each day could add years to your life, researchers have found. 

A study of 5,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans found the risk of dying from any cause dropped as exercise levels increased.

Just 10 more minutes of moderate activity per day — such as a brisk walk — slashed deaths in 40 to 85-year-olds by seven per cent annually. 

The researchers estimate the small lifestyle change could save 100,000 lives in the US every year.

Upping exercise by 20 minutes or 30 minutes daily would see fatalities plummet 13 and 17 per cent, respectively, according to the National Cancer Institute study.

Britons are advised to complete 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise every week, such as a bike ride. 

Lead author Dr Pedro Saint-Maurice said the findings support encouraging older adults to increase their activity.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute estimated increasing physical activity by 10 minutes per day would prevent 111,174 deaths in the US annually (6.9 per cent). A 20-minute increase would see the country’s fatality toll drop by 209,459 per year (13 per cent), while a 30-minute rise would trigger a 272,297 fall (16.9 per cent)

HOW MUCH EXERCISE SHOULD I DO? 

Adults aged 19 to 64 are advised to exercise daily.

The NHS says Britons should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity a week. 

The advice is the same for disabled adults, pregnant women and new mothers. 

Exercising just one or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.

Moderate activity includes brisk walking, water aerobics, riding a bike, dancing, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking and rollerblading.

Vigorous exercise includes running, swimming, riding a bike fast or on hills, walking up stairs, as well as sports such as football, rugby, netball and hockey.

‘To our knowledge, this is the first study to estimate the number of preventable deaths through physical activity using accelerometer-based measurements among US adults while recognising that increasing activity may not be possible for everyone,’ he said. 

The researchers examined health records and mortality rates of 4,840 participants aged 40 to 85, gathered from a national database, to find out if small increases in their activity level prevented deaths. 

They measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity based on data gathered from the volunteers, who wore accelerometers for one week — a device that measured how active they were. 

Their estimates, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found increasing physical activity by 10 minutes per day would prevent 111,174 deaths across the US population annually (6.9 per cent). 

A 20-minute increase could see the country’s fatality toll drop by 209,459 per year (13 per cent), while a 30-minute rise would trigger a 272,297 fall (16.9 per cent). 

In the UK, this would translate to around 10,000 fewer deaths for 10 more minutes of exercise, Office for National Statistics death data suggests. 

Men would benefit most from an increase in exercise, with 10 minutes more per day reducing 8 per cent of total deaths, while fatalities among women would decline by 5.9 per cent, according to the study.

Additionally, deaths would drop 7.3 per cent among white people, 4.8 per cent among Mexican Americans and 6.1 per cent among non-Hispanic black people, the researchers found.

The figures factor in that increases in physical activity won’t be possible for everyone, such as those considered frail or who require equipment to walk. 

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