15 minutes of exercise for a longer life

Lisa Wurth

August 17, 2011

New research has revealed that exercising just 15 minutes a day, for less than 100 minutes a week, can extend a person's life expectancy by up to three years compared to those who are generally inactive. 

"Exercising at very light levels reduced deaths from any cause by 14 percent," said study senior author Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Epidemiology. "The benefits of exercise appear to be significant even without reaching the recommended 150 minutes per week based on results of previous research."

This was a comprehensive study. The researchers evaluated nearly 420,000 Taiwanese participants, concluding that if the inactive group began exercising, one in six deaths could have been postponed. Inactivity was notably prevalent among the subjects, with 54 percent reporting less than an hour of physical activity each week.

Staying active can also help with flexibility and strength, which are two keys to staying independent during old age. By remaining fit, older adults can lower their fall risk as well. Still, seniors may also want to consider installing a personal emergency response system at home to help ensure that they can contact help in the case of an unexpected injury.  

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