You don't need to lift heavy weights or run eight miles daily to maintain your health. A new study reveals that a simple 11-minute moderate aerobic activity per day could diminish risks associated with early death, such as heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and more.
Many studies have delved into the importance of physical activity, and many health agencies, including the CDC and NHS, suggest adults exercise at least 150 minutes every week. A new study by the University of Cambridge published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine proved that just 11 minutes of aerobics, such as walking, swimming, dancing, or cycling, could immensely help physical health.
The research team analyzed 196 peer-reviewed articles, accounting for over 30 million participants from 94 big study groups. This study is currently the biggest survey linked with physical activity and diminished cardiovascular disease, cancer, and early death risk. The research team focused on participants who regularly spend 150 minutes or so exercising every week, or 22 minutes each day.
In contrast with participants who don’t regularly exercise, those who completed at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise showed a 31% diminished risk of death, 29% lower risk of cardiovascular disease death, and 15% decreased risk of dying from cancer. Participants who completed half the daily exercise, at 11 minutes per day, also saw positive physical health results with a 23% diminished risk of early death. They also saw a 17% decrease in cardiovascular disease risk and a 7% reduction in cancer.
"If you are someone who finds the idea of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week a bit daunting, then our findings should be good news," said Soren Brage, the study author and group leader of the Physical Activity Epidemiology group in the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge.
"This is also a good starting position — if you find that 75 minutes a week is manageable, then you could try stepping it up gradually to the full recommended amount."
The study didn’t specify which aerobic exercise to perform in detail, but any physical activity that fits your body's needs can be helpful. The term "aerobic" refers to anything involving free oxygen, supplying cardiovascular conditioning. Aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure, refine lung function, and manage blood glucose levels. Whether you want to spend 11 minutes each day doing yoga, jogging, or even heading to the pool for a quick swim, getting consistent movement every day is essential.
The research team concluded: "One in 10 premature deaths could have been prevented if everyone achieved even half the recommended level of physical activity," the authors wrote. Additionally, "10.9% and 5.2% of all incident cases of CVD (cardiovascular disease) and cancer would have been prevented."
- British Journal of Sports Medicine. Non-occupational physical activity and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality outcomes: a dose–response meta-analysis of large prospective studies
- United Kingdom National Health Service. Physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64
- Cleveland Clinic. Aerobic Exercise