How Much Exercise Do You Need?

In the most recent issue of the British medical journal, The Lancet, a study of over 400,000 people in Taiwan followed for an average of eight years has shown that you don’t need to exercise a lot in order to reap the benefits — including a longer life. As little as 15 minutes of exercise a day or 90 minutes a week can add up to 3 years to your life! Men in the study lived on average 2.55 years longer than their non-exercising counterparts and for women, there was 3.10 years on average between the active and the sedentary group. This translates to a decrease in overall risk of dying by 14% with as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day with a further reduction of 4% for every additional 15 min of daily exercise beyond the minimum amount of 15 min a day.

What type of exercise and what level of intensity?

Researchers examined different types of exercise from regular walking to fast walking to jogging to running and found the benefits were there at all levels but they did confirm that there is a dose-response relationship, so that those who exercised for longer periods and at a higher intensity level reaped more benefits. Again, the participants in the study were compared with people who did no exercise at all. What this study shows is that there are benefits at even 90 minutes a week (6 days X 15 minutes), which is less than Canada’s new guidelines of 150 minutes a week at a moderate level or above. However, the study also showed that those who met the generally recommended guidelines of 30 minutes per day at a moderate level, life expectancy was even greater (4.21 years longer for men, on average, and 3.67 years longer for women).

To your health,

Chris

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