Got a few minutes to spare?
It isn’t breaking news that exercise is good for you, in fact physical inactivity is one of the leasing causes of chronic disease worldwide. That said, it is estimated that less than half of all South African adults meet the minimum criteria of health-promoting activity.
A recent study has found that adding in just a few minutes of activity into your day, every day, can lower your risk of disease.
Just how many minutes is a few?
Increased physical activity is shown to lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, yet many adults still claim to be unable to find the time to exercise.
A recent study found that walking just 10 extra minutes a day could prevent more than 100,000 deaths each year. That number rises to over 200 000 prevented with an extra 20 minutes, and almost 300 000 deaths with an extra 30 minutes.
For optimal health, the global guidelines advise around 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week, and yes, that can indeed be a bit of a stretch when taking time out of your busy daily schedule.
But, what this study does emphasise, is that every minute counts, and the more of them you can accumulate throughout the day, the better. If you aren’t already active, this research gives you the go-ahead to start small. If you are already doing some form of exercise, adding in an additional burst here and there is only going to benefit you!
Make those extra 10 minutes count by trying to increase the intensity of the activity – you want to aim for moderate to vigorous. A good way to judge your intensity is to use the ‘talk test’. With the optimal intensity, you’ll feel slightly short of breath and would struggle to maintain a conversation – whether with yourself or fellow exerciser.
Ultimately, this is just some more evidence to support the idea that moving more won’t only help you live better, it will also help you live longer!
- Mlangeni, L; Makola, L; Naidoo, I; Chibi, B et al., Factors Associated with Physical Activity in South Africa: Evidence from a National Population Based Survey. The Open Public Health Journal. 2018.
- Saint-Maurice PF, Graubard BI, Troiano RP, et al. Estimated Number of Deaths Prevented Through Increased Physical Activity Among US Adults. JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 24, 2022