A new study found 1 in 12 deaths can be prevented with 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week.
The study analyzed information from more than 130,000 people ages 35 to 70 in 17 countries. The researchers examined whether participants met physical activity guidelines, which recommend that people get 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, or 30 minutes a day. The researchers considered not only leisure-time physical activity, but also non-leisure-time activity, including activity done at work.
The scientists found that people who met physical activity guidelines about 30% less likely to die during the study period, compared to those who did not meet physical activity guidelines. Those who met the guidelines 20% less likely to develop heart disease than those who didn’t meet the guidelines.
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With these results, the researchers estimated 8% of deaths and 5% of heart disease cases worldwide prevent over seven years.
Meeting physical activity guidelines by walking for as little as 30 minutes most days of the week has a substantial benefit, said, Scott Lear, a researcher at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. Physical activity represents a low-cost approach to preventing cardiovascular disease, and provides robust evidence to support public health actions to increase all forms of physical activity.
Previous studies looked mainly at people living in high-income countries, and focused on leisure-time activity. But it wasn’t known whether findings in high-income countries would apply to middle and low-income countries, where leisure-time activity is much less common.
The new study included people living in a mix of high, middle, and low-income countries. None of the participants had heart disease at the start of the study. They followed for about seven years to see whether they developed heart disease or died.
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Overall, about 18% of participants did not meet physical activity guidelines. Among this group, 6.4% died during the study period, compared with 4.2% met the guidelines. In addition, 5.1% of those who did not meet the guidelines developed heart disease during the study, compared with 3.8% of those who met the guidelines.
The study said, the more physical activity people engaged in the lower their risks of death and heart disease. Many people who engaged in high levels of physical activity did so primarily though non-leisure-time activities.
These findings realize the full benefits of physical activity, it needs to incorporate into daily life.
More information: [THE LANCET]