Just 15 Minutes of Daily Exercise Boosts Lifespan


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  15 comments   :  12,624 Views

We all know that when it comes to exercise, some is better than none.  But exactly how much do you really need to reap the health benefits of an active lifestyle?  The answer might actually be less than you'd expect, according to new research.
The study, published in the journal Lancet, looked at the self-reported exercise regimen of 400,000 people over a 12-year period.  They found that the people who reported small amounts of exercise (15 minutes per day), had a lower risk of dying from cancer and increased their life expectancy by 3 years, versus those who were inactive.  "With every additional 15 minutes of exercise per day, participants reduced their risk of dying from cancer by another 1 percent. The author of the study did not encourage those who follow the "golden rule" of 30 minutes per day to cut back on their exercise, but he did hope that the findings encourage inactive people to get moving." 
The 15-minutes of exercise reported in the study were typically moderate-intensity activities.  This might include an easy jog or brisk walk.  It doesn't have to be a strenuous workout like high-impact aerobics or high intensity interval training to help you reap those health benefits.  But the researchers are quick to point out a few things about the study:  because the data is self-reported, there is room for error.  Also, it's hard to determine cause and effect.  Are people inactive because they are ill, or are people becoming ill because they are inactive?  Hard to say.
I think the important take-away from this is that every bit of activity counts.  It's not to say that if you're exercising for 30-45 minutes daily, it's fine to do less.  Previous research has shown the additional health and weight-loss benefits of exercising for more than 15-minutes per day.  But if you know of someone who is very resistant to starting an exercise routine and feels overwhelmed with where to begin, 15-minutes per day is a very manageable suggestion.
Looking for more information about how to squeeze short workouts into your day?  Check out how Small Bits of Fitness Add Up,   Squeezing in Exercise, and how to Sneak It In and Tone It Up
What do you think?

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    I'm glad to read that 15 minutes of excercise counts towards improving one's health. I perfer to get in the excercise with a mission involved. Like I walked to the back of the barn and pull some weeds or move something into the tool shed, etc. Those are some extra steps and activities that I don't have time always to pencil in as a regular rountine in my day. That seems to be the right amount of additional activity before my body says ok smart one now you can get out your walker for over doing it. - 4/15/2012   9:17:53 AM
  • 14
    Proves out the truth, the body was designed to be active. The creator built a physical machine that operates best when in use. The take away is... work your body, keep moving to stay healthy! Great article! Fantastic point! Life saving advice! - 9/30/2011   6:35:30 PM
  • 13
    To me 15 minutes means there's more places that I can fit in exercise. 15 minutes is a coffee break at work, so substitute a walk for a donut once or twice a week. It's a start. - 9/3/2011   1:51:29 PM
  • 12
    Thirty minutes seemed so long to me when i firist started to exercise until i started out doing it in 10 minute intervals in order to get my body use to a work out. Now i think 30 minutes is a drop in the bucket and can go for 60 minutes!! Every little bit counts, and before you know it 'YOU ARE STRONGER/HEALTHY!! What fun!! - 9/2/2011   3:16:31 PM
  • 11
    I think if the 15 min recommendation was recommended a lot more instead of 30 or an hour or whatever, I think more would exercise. I think a lot more people think "oh 15 minutes, I can do 15 minutes) but when you get into 30 or more they just sort of think of all the other things in their life that they need to do and they just get more depressed and stuff. - 9/2/2011   2:32:11 PM
  • 10
    I am disabled and exercise is hard so knowing this really helps. - 9/2/2011   2:10:06 PM
  • 9
    WOW! That seems so low to start with. Here I am trying for at least 30 min. This is good to know for those days when I am a slug about exercise. - 9/2/2011   8:28:58 AM
  • 8
    IF I get up and get going, the 15 minutes always becomes 20-30. It's that first step that's the hardest.... - 9/2/2011   1:37:13 AM
  • 7
    For some 15 mins can be like an hour for some 5 mins can be like an hour
    It is the little things you do at the beginning that makes a difference, with goals
    of adding a few mins to every other workout - 9/2/2011   12:02:35 AM
  • 6
    Starting is the hardest part of exercise. - 9/1/2011   7:12:57 PM
  • 5
    Try to make it a game & see if you can improve the next 15 mins. - 9/1/2011   3:08:06 PM
    Any minutes devoted to exercise or movement is better than no minutes! Be proud of every minute! - 9/1/2011   1:29:15 PM
  • 3
    Make it fun - like playing a wii game!! - 9/1/2011   12:38:32 PM
  • 2
    15 min makes excercise seem easier to start - 9/1/2011   12:31:25 PM
    How do you motivate someone else to get moving for those 15 minutes? - 9/1/2011   11:57:20 AM

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