A Little Extra Exercise Daily Could Be a Lifesaver

Researchers say it could prevent more than 100K premature deaths a year
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2022 7:20 PM CST
10 Minutes More Exercise Daily Could Prevent Many Deaths
Dancing is one way to get the extra 10 minutes a day.   (Getty Images/MangoStar_Studio)

(Newser) – Getting just a little more exercise every day could keep a lot of people out of an early grave, according to a study that tracked the activity levels—and death rates—of nearly 5,000 people between the ages of 40 and 85. Researchers writing in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine say their findings suggest that if people over 40 got an extra 10 minutes of exercise daily, more than 110,000 premature deaths could be avoided in the US every year, CNN reports. "We know exercise is good for us. This study provides additional evidence of the benefits at the population level," says lead researcher Pedro Saint-Maurice, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute.

While many other studies have confirmed the benefits of exercise, researchers say that in this case they used accelerometer-based measurements recorded in a study of thousands of people between 2003 and 2006, then looked at participants' death rates up until 2015. Previous studies relied on self-reported data and didn't look at exercise levels below 30 minutes a day, researchers say. The study shows we can "make our nation healthier by encouraging everyone to add an additional 10 minutes of activity or more each day," Saint-Maurice says, per USA Today.

"Fitting in 10 minutes of exercise every day is so much easier than people think. Consider how fast 10 minutes goes by when you're mindlessly scrolling social media or watching your favorite TV show," says CNN fitness correspondent Dana Santas. "It's not a big time investment, but it can deliver big health benefits." Santas says the 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity recommended by researchers could include yoga, dancing, or walking outside or on a treadmill. (In 2020, the World Health Organization warned that physical activity levels had dropped during the pandemic.)

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