15-minute daily exercise is 'bare minimum for health'

 
jogger Moderate exercise does not have to be a long jog, it could be a brisk walk to work or taking the stairs

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Just 15 minutes of exercise a day can boost life expectancy by three years and cut death risk by 14%, research from Taiwan suggests.

Experts in The Lancet say this is the least amount of activity an adult can do to gain any health benefit.

This is about half the quantity currently recommended in the UK.

Meanwhile, work in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests a couch potato lifestyle with six hours of TV a day cuts lifespan by five years.

The UK government recently updated its exercise advice to have a more flexible approach, recommending adults get 150 minutes of activity a week.

This could be a couple of 10-minute bouts of activity every day or 30-minute exercise sessions, five times a week, for example.

Experts say this advice still stands, but that a minimum of 15 minutes a day is a good place to start for those who currently do little or no exercise.

Start Quote

You can get good gains with relatively small amounts of physical activity. More is always better, but less is a good place to start”

End Quote Prof Stuart Biddle, an expert in exercise psychology at Loughborough University

The Lancet study, based on a review of more than 400,000 people in Taiwan, showed 15 minutes per day or 90 minutes per week of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, can add three years to your life.

And people who start to do more exercise tend to get a taste for it and up their daily quota, the researchers from the National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan, and China Medical University Hospital found.

More exercise led to further life gains. Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise further reduced all-cause death rates by 4%.

And research from Australia on health risks linked to TV viewing suggest too much time sat in front of the box can shorten life expectancy, presumably because viewers who watch a lot of telly do little or no exercise.

England's Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies said: "Physical activity offers huge benefits and these studies back what we already know - that doing a little bit of physical activity each day brings health benefits and a sedentary lifestyle carries additional risks."

UK exercise recommendations

  • Under-fives (once walking independently): three hours every day
  • Five to 18-year-olds: at least an hour a day of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, plus muscle strengthening activities three times a week
  • Adults (including over 65s): 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, plus muscle strengthening activities twice a week

She added: "We hope these studies will help more people realise that there are many ways to get exercise, activities like walking at a good pace or digging the garden over can count too."

Prof Stuart Biddle, an expert in exercise psychology at Loughborough University, said a lot of people in the UK now fall into the category of inactive or sedentary.

He said that aiming for 30 minutes of exercise a day on pretty much every day of the week might seem too challenging for some, but starting low and building up could be achievable.

"You can get good gains with relatively small amounts of physical activity. More is always better, but less is a good place to start."

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 183.

    The BMI scale on which the hand-wringing 'warnings' of an obesity apocalypse are based was devised 200 years ago by a fatphobe Dutch eugenicist and never intended as a measure of health (far less moral worth) in individuals. One could as easily surmise through crude statistical corellation that an increase in 'obesity' has not only mirrored that in life expectancy but could be responsible for it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 182.

    ruth re163-there's always an excuse to not do something eh?there's plenty of time to get 15 minutes of exercise into your schedule if you could be bothered.what about your lunch brreak?what about when you come home?you're telling us that it's impossible to fit in 15 minutes?nonsense.i bet there's plenty of time to sit in front of the telly though after the kids are in bed.lol

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 181.

    'Cut death risk by 14%'

    The risk of death, by my calculations, is 100% no matter how much exercise you do...

    This is the issue with reporters who can't claim to specialise in areas such as 'health' but can't do a simple literature review and portray the evidence within a journal article accurately and concisely.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 180.

    Actually, a friend of mine died last week from a heart attack. He was only 48, but he smoked a pack a day, ate from Greggs or a takeaway for every meal and never exercised. He also drove a bus 12 hours a day, so he had no time, much less interest, in exercise. His philosophy was, "Enjoy life while you can, 'cos when your time is up, it's up." Sadly his time is up now and too soon. RIP Pete x

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 179.

    Not only is exercise good for the body but it`s been proved to alleviate symptoms of depression, a win-win situation.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 178.

    Seeing as I walk to and from train stations for my commute. I get 1 hour excercise a day. Got a long commute though.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 177.

    if only the people of south wales could take on this advice.Almost every person you see is over weight,massive guts,massive chunky arms and thighs and a propensity to eat nothing but crappy food and clearly zero excercise.No doubt it's not their fault though.probably thacthers fault for force feeding them.why is it that the vast majority of people are really stupid?can we have a public inquiry?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 176.

    I know very well the benefits of regular exercise. When I exercise my mood improves, I have more energy and I feel better in general. However, I am inherently lazy and I still struggle with my inner couch potato. Knowing what's good for you and actually doing it are two different things and too often I just can't be bothered. It's attitudes that need to change - mine included.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 175.

    Common sense surely I hear you say?

    Try telling that to the young ladies around here. I thought evolution had graciously supplied them with an extra pair of breasts, much to my delight - but it turns out to be nothing more than their extended jelly belly's!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 174.

    So by excise every day I will increase my life expectancy by 3 years. The average life expectancy in the UK 75-80 years old, so I will have to suffer taxes and a rubbish health care system for an extra 3 Years. That does not excite me enough to do it. Compare that to going out drinking of a weekend, enjoying yourself smoking various products and sleeping around. I think I would rather die young

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 173.

    studstudston@46 "why are we...getting fatter?"

    We're not. The rates jumped in '98 after the WHO revised the thresholds downwards making 30m in the US alone 'obese' overnight. Even the 'experts' accept that they've since plateaued in adults in 2004 and have been falling in kids since 2007. Of course you won't hear this in the media, who've benefited from perpetuating a moral panic about obesity.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 172.

    160.Total Mass Retain

    Don't you need it for your deep fried Mars bars?
    ------------------------------------------
    Haha! Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I don't like them deep fried. I prefer them out of the fridge.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 171.

    IndaUK@135 makes a valid point. Exercise might burn calories but it also wears away joints and risks injury. Carrying extra weight in reserve may increase the risk of some conditions but it's also been shown to confer protective effects in terms of better recovery rates esp in later life. BMI 25-35 group live longer than BMI 18-25; why? Because health is never as simple as presented by the meeja.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 170.

    I am glad I have my 4 german shepherds, oads of excersie for me and sae a fortune in gym costs.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 169.

    Ah, Sarah, just spotted your #149. OK, but you then have to say what is the OVERALL risk of dying today. 14% of that will be tiny.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 168.

    But people are more sedentary now than they have been and are living longer than ever before.

    There was a story in the news a few days ago that children born today would live to 100 and we all know changes that are being made to pensions to accommodate people living longer.

    The old adage - “ don’t believe everything you read in the papers” has never been more apt.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 167.

    When will all of these scientist's just do real jobs - if people want to eat badly and do little or no exercise, then let them. It's quite obvious that doing this will not result in a firm body, and good level of health. As long as it doesn't hurt anybody else, let them do as they please! Which leads on - they should pay for any medical treatment related to fatness themselves!! Haha!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 166.

    Assuming "adult" means 20-60 years old, assuming 16 hours waking time per day, then 15 minutes per day is about 6 months of exercise; i.e. the recommended level of exercise takes up six months of an adults lifespan. Giving 3 years more life, that's a 600 % return on investment. Not bad at all.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 165.

    l j s@144. "tax junk food"
    Who gets to determine what's 'junk food'? You? St Jamie Oliver? I.e. the 'high in fat salt and sugar' definition applied to advertising and kids' lunchboxes demonises cheese & milk which like most food are nutritionally beneficial if consumed in moderation. Processed food is subject to VAT anyway, so the amount the Govt take has increased in proportion to price rises.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 164.

    Cut death risk by 14%? Surely death is 100% certain.

 

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