Even a small amount of exercise, such as brisk daily 20 minute walk, reduces the risk of premature death.
It seems more and more studies are showing that any level of activity has benefit. So begin today by doing something.
Researchers estimated that 337,000 of the 9.2 million deaths amongst European men and women each year were attributable to obesity but twice this number of deaths could be attributed to physical inactivity.
They found that even small amounts of exercise, such as brisk 20 minute walk each day which burns around 100 calories, had major health impacts, reducing the risk of premature death.
Previous research has found that physical inactivity is linked to heart disease and cancer.
“This is a simple message: just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits for people who are physically inactive,” said study leader Professor Ulf Ekelund, from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University.
“Although we found that just 20 minutes would make a difference, we should really be looking to do more than this – physical activity has many proven health benefits and should be an important part of our daily life.”
The results were a ‘clear reminder’ that exercise was the best way to avoid an early death.
June Davison, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The research suggests that just a modest increase in physical activity can have health benefits.
“Adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, carrying it out in sessions of 10 minutes or more.
“Whether it’s going for a walk, taking a bike ride or using the stairs instead of the lift, keeping active every day will help reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease.”