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
    0

    Comment number 223.

    What...? People have actually been paid to come up with that? Genius.... Tell it to the starving and impoverished.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 222.

    re 217 total mass retain

    looks like we'll have to keep the exercise regime then.

    I also read that it would take 12 hours of sex to lose a pound of fat!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 221.

    We dont realise what 15 min a day can do to improve our general health. I have worked in the science field all my life and lucky enough to know that we need to move around during work. Doing nothing all week and then go to the gym one time wont do us any good. Our bodies needs exercising each day. What we have is a modern disease caused by TV, computers and computer games. The "me first" society.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 220.

    "So tell me, how many happy, healthy, active 90-year olds, living fulfilling, rewarding lives, do you know then?
    ----------------------------------------------
    One takes it from that snidey remark that you are unfortunately surrounded by ill and decrepit people."

    It's not snidey and you take it wrongly. Come on, tell us - how many? The fact is there are very few, aren't there?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 219.

    "Ian-FMP
    15 mins a day for 95 years = 1 year of exercising. Is it worth it for the extra 2 years?!"

    But as you're much less likely to get illnesses like colds or get them as badly, then you probably have one or two weeks a year extra that you're not feeling miserable.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 218.

    I think 6 hours of exercise every day will kill most people, not guarantee them eternal life as this report suggests.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 217.

    212. nosotros somos el futuro

    There was a Radio 4 programme the other week that said that thorough research clearly showed that after the first passionate year in a relationship, the lifetime average was about once per week and is typically over in much less than 15 minutes! Some people and occupations clearly do not conform to this, but the majority, regrettably, do it would seem.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 216.

    Too many people use the excuse of not having enough time to exercise. I work two jobs - walk to and from both of them - 20 minutes each way - and have just started teaching pilates. I offer lunchtime classes - a perfect way to get away from your desk and computer, correct bad posture and help you sleep. Its also realising exercise doesn't have to make you sweat to be good for you!!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 215.

    15 mins a day for 95 years = 1 year of exercising. Is it worth it for the extra 2 years?!

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 214.

    This is a typicle generalisation, I'm 72 with a very dodgy back, I'm lucky to be able to mow the grass once a week.
    So how am I supposed to do 15 mins a day excersise without ending up in the local A&E ?

  • Comment number 213.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 212.

    211 total mass

    brilliant!made me chuckle anyway
    if you're in the enviable position of having sex everyday in excess of 15 minutes then you can give up the excercise.If being happy can keep you alive then sex is the greatest tonic

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 211.

    "Darren Reynolds
    Does sex count? It's a serious question. There are some people out there who probably don't get 15 minutes of 'exercise' every day, but who do spend at least that time on activity between the sheets. Does it have the same effect?"

    Those who claim to do this are known as "liars".

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 210.

    Another reason not to mess with the clocks in October. After a days work who wants to excerise in the dark!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 209.

    Scientific studies are required to determine cause and affect relationships. Governments can then use results to shape policy. But the two are not same. Any runner will tell you of the benefits running brings here and now (more drive & energy, sounder sleep, fewer colds)rather than a few years tacked on the end. I'd encourage anyone to run, but the last reason I'd choose is increased lifepsan.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 208.

    Does sex count? It's a serious question. There are some people out there who probably don't get 15 minutes of 'exercise' every day, but who do spend at least that time on activity between the sheets. Does it have the same effect?

  • Comment number 207.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 206.

    re202-but it all depends on how still you sit and for how long.i read a lot, I watch TV but I'm also very active, i.e I don't spend the week sat in front of the TV or reading a book.It's very easy to get to the gym or join a team.I never want to be in the position as most south wales men where you need two mirrors and a bed to see what's going on below the belt.laughable state to be in really

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 205.

    Firmly tongue in cheek for my last comment. Please don't +1 them :)

    I exercise. I'm 5kg overweight. I eat properly. I get through three cigarette lighters a day. I laugh a lot (best medicine). I don't get enough sleep. The family has their health. I slouch on the sofa after the kids have gone to bed.

    I'll die when my time is up and not a moment before, or after

    Enjoy the only one you have

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 204.

    86.
    this_comment_was_banned
    12 Minutes ago

    Another useless `very safe' topic


    ///////////////////////////////////

    Yes, that's why it's not moderated. Surely you don't expect the BBC to take any risks do you? After all Knighthoods are at stake.

 

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