How much exercise do I have to do to live longer?
In this era of sedentary living (video games and Blu-ray) and working (office), couch potatoes know they should be doing some exercise, but many are loath to commit to more than necessary to be healthy and extend their lives. So for those among us who know they should do more but aren’t sure what the “minimum” of “more” should be, a study out of Taiwan may help:
On the basis of the amount of weekly exercise indicated in a self-administered questionnaire, participants were placed into one of five categories of exercise volumes: inactive, or low, medium, high, or very high activity. We calculated hazard ratios (HR) for mortality risks for every group compared with the inactive group, and calculated life expectancy for every group.
Compared with individuals in the inactive group, those in the low-volume activity group, who exercised for an average of 92 min per week (95% CI 71—112) or 15 min a day (SD 1·8), had a 14% reduced risk of all-cause mortality (0·86, 0·81—0·91), and had a 3 year longer life expectancy. Every additional 15 min of daily exercise beyond the minimum amount of 15 min a day further reduced all-cause mortality by 4% (95% CI 2·5—7·0) and all-cancer mortality by 1% (0·3—4·5). These benefits were applicable to all age groups and both sexes, and to those with cardiovascular disease risks. Individuals who were inactive had a 17% (HR 1·17, 95% CI 1·10—1·24) increased risk of mortality compared with individuals in the low-volume group.
So take heart, couch potatoes, the minimums are in. 15 minutes is all that’s asked to tack on another 3 years of the good life. About the same amount of time it takes to fast charge your smart phone. Or think of it as 8 trips to get beer and potato chips. You can do it. Join the low-volume exercise group now and 3 more golden years are yours for the taking.