PARIS, France — A small amount of exercise each day, such as an 11-minute brisk walk, could prevent one in 10 premature deaths, a large study said Wednesday.
Physical activity is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other major causes of death, but the exact amount needed to have the effect is unknown.
Therefore, an international team of researchers has compiled the results of 196 previous studies involving more than 30 million people to create one of the largest reviews ever conducted on the subject.
They found that if everyone in the study did at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, the level recommended by the UK’s National Health Service, about 1 in 6 premature deaths could be prevented. I calculated.
But half that amount (less than 75 minutes a week, or 11 minutes a day) could prevent a tenth of these deaths, according to a meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
This included a 17% reduction in heart disease and a 7% reduction in cancer.
People who did little or no physical activity had a 23% lower risk of premature death after 11 minutes a day.
Co-author of the study, Soren Blasi, an expert in physical activity epidemiology at the University of Cambridge, UK, told AFP this was “very good news.”
“All you need to do is find just over 10 minutes each day,” he said.
“And you don’t have to go to the gym to do these types of activities. It’s part of your daily routine,” he added.
He suggested that people get off at an earlier bus stop on their way to work or try to cycle home.
“Very flexible,” he said.
Many of the studies were conducted more than a decade ago, Brage said, because it will take years to assess how exercise affects the risk of such diseases.
This means that activity reported by study participants is likely to be less accurate than what can be achieved by newer technologies such as fitness trackers, and acknowledges that this is a limitation of the study.
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke killed 17.9 million people worldwide in 2019, while cancer killed nearly 10 million the following year.
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