New study concludes exercise is more important to longevity.
We all know that maintaining a healthy body weight is important, however, new research indicates that, in terms of preventing premature death, the amount a person exercises is more important than weight.
And a daily walk that lasts as little as 20 minutes might be enough to reduce the threat to one’s longevity.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge, in Cambridge, England, who studied 334,000 European men and women over a 12-year period, found that at least twice as many deaths could be attributed to a lack of exercise as could be tied to obesity. The results of their study were published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers calculated that increasing activity levels so that no one was any longer considered “inactive” would reduce early deaths by more than 7%. Eliminating obesity, their figures showed, would reduce early deaths by nearly 4%.
According to the study, more than 676,000 European deaths were attributable to physical inactivity in 2008, compared with 337,000 linked to obesity.
Burning an extra 90 to 100 calories a day – possibly with a 20-minute walk – can move a person from the “inactive” to the “moderately inactive” category, slashing their risk of premature death by 16% – 30%.
The effects of such change, the researchers said, were most obvious in people of normal weight, but overweight people also benefited.
“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,” says the leader of the study, Professor Ulf Ekelund, of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the university.
“Although we found that just 20 minutes would make a difference, we should really be looking to do more than this,” he adds. “Physical activity has many proven health benefits and should be an important part of our daily life.”
Club Business International, May 2015