According to the latest research, getting as little as 10 minutes of exercise a day can increase life expectancy by as much as 2 years past the age of 40. Steven Moore from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and his co-authors collected data on 650,000 men and women, both here and in Sweden over the age of 40, who had self-reported their regular activity levels. The found that an average of 75 minutes of exercise a week, or about 10 minutes a day, could add 1.8 years to life expectancy compared to no exercise at all. They also discovered that walking briskly for 450 minutes a week, or a little over an hour a day, could increase life expectancy by 4.5 years.
“More leisure-time physical activity was associated with longer life expectancy across a range of activity levels and body mass index groups,” the author’s wrote in this month’s issue of PLOS Medicine, which is published by the Public Library of Science.
Researchers also examined the effects of weight on life expectancy and found that the best case scenario was for a person who was active and at a normal BMI, which could add 7.2 years compared to those in the obese or inactive category. The same person who was inactive could lose up to 4.7 years.
Smoking was also a considerable factor in determining life expectancy. The study, which was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, found that long-term smoking could reduce life span by as much as 10 years.
According to a survey conducted by Statistics Canada’s Health Measures only about 15% of adults get the recommended amount of exercise, 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
“This finding may help convince currently inactive persons that a modest physical activity program is ‘worth it’ for health benefits, even if it may not result in weight control.”