Results of a new European study suggest that individuals who live relatively sedentary lifestyles may significantly reduce their chances of suffering an early death by participating in light or moderate physical activity.
Lead researcher James Woodcock and his colleagues from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analyzed the results of several large studies that examined the relationship between exercise and mortality rates.
They discovered that even the smallest increase in physical activity was linked to a dramatic decrease in the risk of early death. The most impressive health benefits were found in those who went from getting virtually no exercise to doing light physical activity, such as walking every day for 30 minutes.
Compared to no physical at all, individuals who got 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day had a 19 percent lower risk of suffering an early death, regardless of other health factors.
"Our research confirms that it is not just exercising hard that is good for you," said Woodcock. "Even moderate, everyday activities like walking and cycling can have major health benefits.
"Just walking to the shops or walking the children to school can lengthen your life, as well as bring other benefits for well-being and the environment," he added.