How many times have you heard me talk about exercise? One of the big 4 risk factors – alcohol, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise – that we can modify to decrease our chances of cancer and cardiovascular disease. You also hear me talking about current recommendations that say 150 minutes a week is the goal to see sustained morbidity and mortality benefits. What if I told you 15 minutes a day could change your life? A doable 15 minutes? Would you commit to that!?

In a study published in this week’s prestigious The Lancet, more than 400,000 Taiwanese people were followed for 8 years or so. The levels of exercise were divided into quintiles of inactive, low, medium-high, high or very high activity. They were then looked at for illness and death outcomes. When looking at the inactive group compared to the low volume activity group of about 15 minutes a day or 90 minutes per week, the low volume group had a 14% reduced risk of any cause of death, a 10% reduced risk of all cancer deaths and on average, a THREE year longer life expectancy.

Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise added a further benefit by an additional 4% for all-cause death and 1% for all-cause cancer deaths. Who did this impact on? Well, simply put everyone. The benefits were seen in all age groups. Both male and female and to those who had existing cardiovascular risks. For those who were inactive, there was a 17% INCREASE risk of mortality compared to the low volume exercisers. The authors point out that if an inactive person gets involved in low dose activity on a daily basis, one in 6 deaths could be postponed. It is also interesting that the authors found that time exercising and intensity of work out mattered as well. For example, a 2 hour a week of vigorous activity could generate similar health benefits as a 4 hour a week moderate intensity. So if you are short on time, then pump up the intensity as long as you are careful not to get injured.

For those inactive folks, 15 minutes a day could change your life. Ready to sign on to the commitment? 15 minutes! How easy is that?

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