Regular exercise is known to be one of the best ways to lead a longer, healthy life, and now, a new study has found that even low levels of physical activity could have a great difference.
Even a minimal amount of physical exercise could reduce the risk of death by a good percentage, the findings have revealed. The researchers have found that the increase in life span could correspond to an increase in exercise.
The health benefits of exercise have been long known- it is thought to influence mental health, heart and lung health and musculoskeletal health as well. Infact, moderate exercise is also thought to combat diabetes.
A report has also revealed that individuals who got even half the amount of recommended exercise daily could add two years to their lifespan.
“Meeting the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans minimum by either moderate- or vigorous-intensity activities was associated with nearly the maximum longevity benefit,” the researchers stated.
These researchers studied data including more than 661,000 men and women, and followed them for a period of 14 years, during which, they recorded nearly 117,000 deaths.
The study subjects were asked to provide details about their exercise habits, including the average weekly time spent on jogging, swimming, playing, cycling and running.
The researchers found that “any level of activity was associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality.”
They also noted 20 percent reduction in death risk in those who performed less than the recommended amount of physical activity daily. On an average, the recommended daily minimum amount of physical activity is atleast 2 and a half hours of moderate exercise every week.
The researchers found that the patients who were able to meet the weekly requirement of exercise experienced upto 31 percent reduction in the risk of dying as opposed to those who were inactive.
Furthermore, this risk dropped even more for those who managed to engage in more than twice to thrice the amount of weekly physical activity.
“The findings provide important evidence to inactive individuals by showing that modest amounts of activity provide substantial benefit for postponing mortality while reassuring very active individuals of no exercise-associated increase in mortality risk,” the researchers added. “Essentially, the major barriers continue to be motivation, time, access to facilities or equipment, energy, having a workout partner and [belief in oneself].”