Just TWO MINUTE bursts of exercise each day is enough to stave off an early death
- 15 minutes of vigorous activity per week is enough to slash risk of death by 18%
- Finding is from an Australian study of 70,000 Britons were tracked for 7 years
- Authors say it shows the merits of even tiny amounts of exercise done every day
- Even walking up the stairs counts as a ‘vigorous activity’ according to the NHS
Just two minutes of vigorous exercise each day may be enough to cut your risk of dying young, research suggests.
And experts say you don’t even have to do anything too intense.
Simply walking up the stairs, running round the garden or skipping is enough, they claim.
Even a little bit of exercise goes a long way, with scientists saying just two minutes of vigorous exercise per day could help slash your risk of death by almost a fifth
HOW MUCH EXERCISE SHOULD I DO?
Adults aged 19 to 64 are advised to exercise daily.
The NHS says Britons should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity a week.
The advice is the same for disabled adults, pregnant women and new mothers.
Exercising just one or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.
Moderate activity includes brisk walking, water aerobics, riding a bike, dancing, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking and rollerblading.
Vigorous exercise includes running, swimming, riding a bike fast or on hills, walking up stairs, as well as sports such as football, rugby, netball and hockey.
University of Sydney scientists analysed data from 70,000-plus Britons, tracking their exercise levels for a week and their subsequent health over the next seven years.
Results showed people who did just 15 minutes of vigorous activity per week — or 2m 9s a day — were 18 per cent less likely to die within the study period.
This was compared to those who did just two minutes per week.
Lead author Dr Matthew Ahmadi said: ‘The results indicate accumulating vigorous activity in short bouts across the week can help us live longer.
‘Given that lack of time is the most commonly reported barrier to regular physical activity, accruing small amounts sporadically during the day may be a particularly attractive option for busy people.’
NHS guidelines suggest adults should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week spread over four to five days.
Examples of vigorous exercise include running, swimming, skipping and walking up stairs.
Each participant in the study, who were in their 60s, on average, and split almost evenly in terms of sex, wore a wrist-mounted activity tracker for a full week to gauge their total vigorous activity time.
This data was then compared against rates of death or illnesses such as heart disease or cancer.
Results published in the European Heart Journal show people who did no vigorous activity had a 4 per cent overall risk of dying in the next five years.
More than 42million adults in the UK will be overweight or obese by 2040, according to projections by Cancer Research UK
This risk was halved to just 2 per cent for those who did 10 minutes per week and to just 1 per cent among those who did an hour per week.
But the scientists say the most interesting finding was regarding the smallest bouts of vigorous activity per day.
More was still better, though.
For example, those who did with those who did 53 minutes per week, about seven-and-a-half minutes per day, had a 36 per cent lower chance of death in five years, compared to those did two minutes a week.
The health benefits of regular exercise have been well established for decades.
Keeping fit can ward off obesity and its collateral health effects, such as type 2 diabetes and cancers. It can also improve bone strength and mental wellbeing.
However, a study by Essex researchers in May suggested that only one in 20 adults in England are getting the recommended amount of exercise per week.
Lack of exercise, combined with unhealthy diets, have been blamed for the growing obesity epidemic in the UK.
The latest data shows that 64 per cent of adults are overweight, with more of us predicted to grow fatter in the future.
Obesity doesn’t just expand British waistlines but health care costs, with the NHS spending an estimated £6.1 billion on treating weight-related disease like diabetes, heart disease and some cancers between 2014 to 2015.
In the US, an estimated 73.6 per cent of adults are considered either overweight or obese.