A recent study published in the European Heart Journal suggests that short two-minute bursts of activity that add up to 15 minutes per week can help people live longer. The study also indicated intensity was just as important as the amount of activity. This is good news for busy people who may find it easier to incorporate brief exercise sessions into their routines.
The study included adults aged 40 to 69 years from the UK Biobank study. The study enrolled 71,893 adults free of cardiovascular disease or cancer and tracked them for an average of 6.9 years. A majority (56%) were women, and the median age was 62.5 years. Researchers documented the total amount of weekly vigorous activity and the frequency of exercise lasting two minutes or less. Participants wore an activity tracker on their wrist that measured motion and sporadic activity throughout the day.
The researchers examined associations of volume and frequency of vigorous activity with death (all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer) and incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The risk of these adverse outcomes lessened as the volume and frequency of vigorous activity increased. Even small amounts produced benefits. For example, participants with no vigorous activity had a 4% risk of death within five years, but this risk dropped to 2% with less than 10 minutes of weekly vigorous activity. 60 minutes or more further reduced the risk to 1%.
Frequency of vigorous activity is a critical factor in reducing health risks. Short bursts of vigorous activity four times a day was associated with a 27% lower risk of death. Adding up these short bursts of activity throughout the day promotes heart health.
Sources: Eureka News Alert, European Heart Journal