A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has found that just 11 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every day can lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, or premature death.
Aerobic activities include exercises such as brisk walking, running, playing tennis, cycling, dancing, and hiking, and intensity levels can be monitored by heart rate and how hard you’re breathing.
Moderate intensity can be signaled by being able to talk but not sing, while vigorous intensity would make it so you can’t carry a conversation.
The study authors reaffirmed the World Health Organization’s stance that doing just some physical activity every day is better than doing none, even if it’s not the total recommended amount of exercise.
Scientists from the University of Cambridge gathered data from 196 studies that looked at more than a combined 30 million adult participants who followed the regimen over an average of 10 years.
Participants who had done a minimum of 150 minutes of weekly exercise, 22 minutes per day, as recommended by the National Health Service (NHS), were the main focus of the study.
Outside of work-related physical activity, two out of three people participated in moderate-intensity physical activity levels below 150 minutes per week, while fewer than one in 10 reported levels of more than 300 minutes per week.
Results found that those who did the minimum recommended amount of moderate to vigorous exercise every week had a 31% lower risk of dying from any cause, 29% lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, and a 15% lower risk of dying from cancer compared to those who are inactive.
Those participants were also 27% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 12% less likely for cancer. When they looked at participants who cut the minimum recommended time in half, the scientists saw that 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, 11 minutes per day, resulted in a 23% lower risk of premature death. It also reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 17% and cancer by 7%.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally, and in 2019, were the cause of 17.9 million deaths. Cancers were the cause of 9.6 million deaths globally in 2017.
Anything more than the recommended 150 minutes per week only had smaller additional benefits. “If you are someone who finds the idea of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week a bit daunting, then our findings should be good news,” said study author Dr. Soren Brage.
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