The study's main author, professor William E. Kraus, M.D., of the Duke University School of Medicine says that for about three decades, health guidelines stated that moderate to vigorous activity could lead to better health. But there was one condition: the activity should take at least 10 minutes. But why do experts recommend less than 10-minute exercises, like skipping the elevator and taking stairs, and parking farther from one's destination?
Kraus’s research showed that every little bit of exercise helps. Even short trips up and down stairs can count as accumulated exercise minutes. They can cut down health risks as long as they are done moderately or vigorously. Moderate exercise means brisk walking at a pace that makes it difficult to converse. Kraus explained that accelerating the pace and breaking into a jog serve as vigorous exercise for most people.
This is good news for many Americans, who usually do their moderate or vigorous exercise in short installments. That's because it's more convenient to accumulate 30 minutes of exercise a day than go around the block for half an hour.
Kraus and his colleagues from the National Cancer Institute studied data from 4,840 people aged 40 years old and above who joined the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2006. Participants wore accelerometers to measure activity and exertion. A national database showed that 4,140 participants were still alive in 2011.
Researchers discovered that participants who got less than 20 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity a day were at the greatest risk of death. Those who exercised 60 minutes a day reduced their risk of death by as much as 57 percent. Getting at least 100 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity a day, on the other hand, gave the biggest health benefit. It lowered the risk of death by 76 percent.
People with an eight-hour office schedule whose sedentary lifestyle allows little time for physical activity can squeeze in a few minutes of exercise during their one-hour lunch break. Here's how:
Investing even a little time on exercise gives you a lot of dividends. And it won't cost you a single penny. After all, you can't put a price on health. It's something you just can't have enough of.
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