Just 15 minutes of exercise a day can increase life expectancy
Exercising for just 15 minutes a day could increase life expectancy by 3 years and cut the risk of death by 14 per cent, latest research suggests.
Researchers from Taiwan believe that this is the minimum amount of exercise needed to gain health benefits.
The Department of Health recently updated its guidance to recommend that all adults and older people over the age of 65 get 150 minutes of exercise each week.
Children and young people up to the age of 18 are advised to do at least an hour of exercise each day and three days a week ofvigorous intensity activities that strengthen muscle and bone.
But this latest study found a minimum of 15 minutes a day is a good place to start for those who currently do little or no exercise.
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.
Compared with individuals in the inactive group, those in the low-volume activity group, who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week (about 15 minutes a day) had a 14 per cent reduced risk of all-cause mortality, and a 10 per cent reduced risk of all-cancer mortality.
The researchers also found that every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise beyond the minimum amount of 15 minutes a day further reduced all-cause mortality by 4 per cent and all-cancer mortality by 1 per cent.
NICE recommends building exercise into your daily routine, such as walking or cycling to work, and has produced guidance to enable local authorities to create environments that encourage physical activity.
The guidance on physical activity and the environment states that actions need to be taken to ensure pedestrians, cyclists and users of other modes of transport that involve physical activity are given the highest priority when developing or maintaining streets and roads.
New workplaces should be linked to walking and cycling networks, and where possible, these links should improve the existing walking and cycling infrastructure by creating new, through routes, says NICE.
Other ways to encourage physical activity include ensuring that stairways are clearly signposted and are attractive to use, and ensuring that school playgrounds are designed to encourage varied, physically active play.
NICE has also produced guidance on encouraging employees to be physically active and on four commonly used methods to increase physical activity. This includes encouraging GPs to take the opportunity, whenever possible, to identify inactive adults and advise them to aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity on 5 days of the week.
The guidance also offers advice on when to offer exercise referral schemes and the use of pedometers and community-based exercise programmes for walking and cycling.
You can find all of NICE's guidance on physical activity and the accompanying implementation tools in one easy to use NICE Pathway on physical activity.
16 August 2011