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

Related Stories

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."

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 203.

    our physiology hasnt altered since we were cave men therefore its a no brainer we should be mobile, active. you would have to be really thick to think otherwise. no wonder we are a nation of fat folk, if people had half a brain they would realise that people arent meant to be overweight.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 202.

    this_comment_was_banned@186 "Another useless `very safe' topic"

    Agreed. Giving folk another opportunity to bash a stereotypical 'obese' bogeyman, oh how very brave and counterhegemonic of the Beeb.

    ivorynetsuke @187 - whilst I refute your claim that inactivity is 'harmful, period' this debate invokes a lot of snobbery . Replace 'watching TV' with 'reading books'; both involve sitting still.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 201.

    re196-I haven't long come back from the US.I think I was the thinest man on the continent for two weeks.like the south wales valleys thin people are in the minority in the US.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 200.

    Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise further reduced all-cause death rates by 4%.

    So.... if I do 6.25 hours of exercise a day I'll have reduced the all-cause deah rate by over 100%. Excellent, I can live forever!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 199.

    Stop Press - Exercise is good for you!!!! Thank goodness this research wasn't conducted in the UK at the expense of tax payers.

    Next they'll be saying that a healthy diet helps you live longer!

    Exercise for the sake of exercise isn't very appealing for the majority. Far better to be involved in a sport, where the exercise becomes a side effect of enjoying yourself.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 198.

    Work is often used as an excuse for lack of exercise. However in my experience, it comes down to whether you wish to exercise or not. I now try and get at least 4-8hrs a week in dotted over the whole week. It does mean missing a few tv shows or prioritising tasks, but if you wish to do it you will and if not...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 197.

    I knew a guy once who excercised every day, took vitamin pills, never ate red meat, didn't smoke or drink alcohol and was the perfect weight. Guess what? He got run over by a bus crossing the road. Still the Undertaker said he was the best looking corpse he had laid out in years!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 196.

    I've just come back from a holiday in Northern Spain. In small rural villages it seems to be a habit of older members of the community to daily take walks particularly in the morning and the evening. They don't seem to need a dog to do it either! Significantly less obesity is startlingly obvious which presumably helps life expectancy.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 195.

    @151179 No you couldn't. The generations living longer are not the same as those fuelling the obesity epidemic. They are two generations after.
    All you can do is model future life expectancy based on what is now known about the impact of obesity on health. Most health professionals working in the field predict life expectancy will peak and then reverse in the coming decades.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 194.

    I just read in a national newspaper today that a report has said that each hour of watching television (and computer screens) takes 20 minutes off your life. If that's true it means looking at and posting on HYS is costing you your life! lol

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 193.

    So what are you waiting for. Just start exercising.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 192.

    "There is no pleasure I would sacrifice for the prospect of an additional decade in the nursing home. An extra ten years of youth might be another matter". Unfortunately I fear that as the notion of an individual's choices as society's problem gains traction, we will not be free to make our own decisions about which 'vices' we indulge or eschew for very much longer. "Our bodies; our business!"

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 191.

    bmi is a flawed system.Johnny wilkinson is classed as obese on the the bmi scale.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 190.

    "Just 15 minutes of exercise a day can boost life expectancy by three years and cut death risk by 14%". - Another gumbo topic for people to debate about. This is pointless research. BBC, please stop with topics like these because you are not helping British people save what little common sense they've left.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 189.

    "cut death risk by 14%" So BBC, the risk of dying can be cut can it?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 188.

    @ streamofstars. You're right that the busy work schedule and long working hours leave us little or no time to exercise. Facing this difficulty I decided the only way is to build exercise into my work routine. I started cycling to work and, boy do I see the positive change in my health!! Little things like walking to the next bus stop or getting off a stop early and walking or even jogging helps.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 187.

    Side note: Couch potato is so yesterday. We need to come up with a term for people who sit at their computers for hours on end, regardless of whether they're playing an online game or working on "business." Not being active period is harmful.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 186.

    Another useless `very safe' topic

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 185.

    I wonder how much did it cost to come with little gem of the blatantly obvious?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 184.

    " Ruth
    10pm - do I exercise now? or go to bed? Maybe if we spent less time working we'd have the energy and TIME to exercise"

    What does the father of your children do to lighten your load and share your burden so you might free up some joint time to exercise together?

 

Page 8 of 18

 

More Health stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.