Exercise rates linked to lifespan
Exercise really can give you a new lease of life, new research has suggested.
A large study found that as little as 15 minutes of physical activity a day can reduce the risk of dying by 14% and increase lifespan by three years.
More exercise led to further life gains. Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise further reduced all-cause death rates by 4%.
This trend continued until a person was exercising for 100 minutes a day, after which no further benefit was seen.
More vigorous activity for shorter periods of time had the same effect as less intense exercise carried out for longer.
Exercise was also seen to have a very protective effect against cancer. People classified as "inactive" had an 11% higher risk of dying of cancer than those in the "low-volume" activity group.
Cancer deaths fell by 1% for each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise after the first 15 minutes.
The study, published in the online version of The Lancet medical journal, involved more than 400,000 Taiwanese people in a medical screening programme whose progress was followed between 1996 and 2008.
Participants, who were all aged 20 and above, were questioned about their weekly leisure-time physical activity. They were then placed into one of five categories based on a formula that took into account both exercise intensity and duration.
The different "exercise volume" groups were "inactive", "low", "medium", "high", and "very high".