Aging Wellness

Keep moving for better health: Even 10 minutes of vigorous physical activity can help lower death risk

Researchers from the U.S. and China recently revealed that any type of physical activity could reduce overall death risk. The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that even 10 minutes of moderate, leisurely activities – like walking and gardening – can reduce the risk of all-cause death. This correlation increased more for people who do vigorous exercises, like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or jogging. 

Earlier studies have shown that even low levels of physical activity have a long list of health benefits, including promoting heart and cognitive health. In this study, the researchers wanted to examine this connection on a broader population.

The researchers used data gathered through the U.S. National Health Interview Surveys. The researchers were able to analyze data stemming from 88,140 participants, whose ages ranged from 40 to 85. Then they crosschecked the names to data from the National Death Index records until December 2011.

Their findings revealed that people who were physically active for at least 10 minutes each week had a lower risk of death. Researchers particularly examined deaths related to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality.

Based on the results, they found the following correlation between duration of moderate-intensity exercise and reduction of risk:

  • All-cause death
    • 10 to 59 minutes – 18 percent decrease
    • 150 to 299 minutes – 31 percent decrease
    • 1,500 minutes or more – 46 percent decrease
  • Cardiovascular disease
    • 10 to 59 minutes – 12 percent decrease
    • 120 to 299 minutes – 37 percent decrease
    • 1,500 minutes or more – 33 percent decrease
  • Cancer
    • 10 to 59 minutes – 14 percent decrease
    • 120 to 299 minutes – 24 percent decrease
    • 1,500 minutes or more – 47 percent decrease

The researchers pointed out that people who did more vigorous activities had a significantly lower mortality risk. They also suggested that high-intensity exercises could be a solution for people who did not have a lot of time to set aside for moderate, leisurely physical activities. (Related: 6 Natural ways to burn fat if you can’t exercise regularly.)

Try high-intensity exercises instead

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), two million deaths per year are connected to physical inactivity. In fact, the WHO considered a sedentary lifestyle as one of the top 10 leading causes of death globally. It can be challenging to set aside time for exercise due to busy schedules. However, the study above has shown that short, vigorous exercises are essential to lower the risk of diseases.

Try incorporating the following high-intensity activities:

  • High-intensity interval training – This refers to short bursts of vigorous exercise for an assigned length of time. Moderate exercises are placed alternately between vigorous exercises to allow for a bit of rest.
  • Climbing stairs – Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs.
  • Hillwalking – Some areas have hilly landscapes. When given a chance, take the time to walk around the city while enjoying the view.
  • Jump rope – This is not only for kids. Buy a jump rope and allot some time of the day at home or even at work. Always try to beat the previous record for improvement.
  • Running – Whether it is inside a gym or outside in the park, running is an easy, often accessible way to burn off some fat and improve mental health.
  • Skiing – If given a chance to visit snowy areas, try cross-country skiing.
  • Speed walking – Make opportunities to walk more, like parking farther from the entrance or walking the pet. Pick a pace that is comfortable and slowly try to walk faster.

Physical activity is a must for overall health. Add high-intensity activities to save time when days are busy, along with other tips and information found at

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