Sign up for CNN’s Fitness, But Better newsletter series. Our seven-part guide will help you make a healthy routine easier with expert support.
Do you feel like there’s no point in doing anything when you can’t fit your entire workout into a busy day? You need to rethink that mindset. A major new study finds that 11 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activity a day can lower your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease or premature death.
Aerobic activities include walking, dancing, running, jogging, cycling and swimming. You can measure the intensity of the activity by your heart rate and how hard you breathe while you move. In general, being able to speak during an activity but not singing can cause moderate intensity. Extreme severity is indicated by an inability to carry on a conversation.
According to past research, higher levels of physical activity are associated with lower rates of premature death and chronic diseases. But it is difficult to determine how risk levels for these outcomes are affected by the amount of exercise someone takes. To investigate this impact, scientists from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom looked at data from 196 studies, involving more than 30 million adult participants who were followed for an average of 10 years. The The results of this recent study It was published Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The study mainly focused on participants who did the minimum recommended exercise of 150 minutes per week or 22 minutes per day. Compared to inactive participants, adults who did 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week had a 31% lower risk of dying from any cause, a 29% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and a 15% lower risk of dying from cancer.
The same amount of exercise is associated with a 27% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 12% lower risk of cancer.
“This is a compelling systematic review of existing research,” said CNN clinical investigator Dr. Lena Wen, an emergency physician and professor of public health at George Washington University who was not involved in the research. This research backs that up, and suggests that even smaller amounts than the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week can help.
Even those who got half the minimum recommended amount of physical activity benefited. 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week — about 11 minutes of activity per day — was associated with a 23% lower risk of early death. Being active for 75 minutes on a weekly basis is enough to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 17% and cancer by 7%.
Above 150 minutes per week, the additional benefits are small.
“If you find the idea of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week a bit daunting, our findings are good news,” said study author Dr Soren Brage. Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge A press release. “This is also a good starting point – if you find that 75 minutes a week is manageable, you can gradually try to increase it to the full recommended amount.”
The authors’ findings confirm the World Health Organization’s position that even if you don’t get the recommended amount of exercise, it’s best to do some physical activity.
“One in 10 premature deaths could be prevented if everyone achieved even half of the recommended amount of physical activity,” the authors wrote in the study. Additionally, “CVD (cardiovascular disease) and cancer would have been prevented in 10.9% and 5.2% of cases, respectively.”
Important note: If pain occurs during exercise, stop immediately. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
The authors did not have details about the specific types of physical activity that the participants did. But some experts have ideas about how physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and premature death.
“Aerobic activity has a variety of beneficial effects, including improving and maintaining body composition, insulin resistance, and physical activity,” said Haruki Momma, associate professor of medicine and science in sports and exercise at Tohoku. University in Japan. Amma is not involved in research.
Benefits include improvements in immune function, lung and heart health, inflammation levels, high blood pressure, cholesterol and body fat levels, said Eleanor Watts, a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute. Watts was not involved in the research.
“These create a lower risk of getting chronic diseases,” said Peter Katzmarczyk, associate executive director of population and public health sciences at the Bennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Katzmarczyk was not involved in the research.
The fact that participants who did at least half of the recommended amount of exercise still experienced benefits doesn’t mean people shouldn’t aim for more exercise, Wen said, but rather that “the fit shouldn’t be the enemy of the fit.” “Better than some.”
Find activities you enjoy to get up to 150 minutes of physical activity per week, Wen said. “You’re more likely to engage in something you love than you have to.”
When it comes to how you fit in your exercise, you can think outside the box.
“Moderate activity doesn’t have to include what we typically think of as exercise, like playing sports or running,” said Leandro Garcia, a lecturer in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast, in a news release. “Sometimes, all you need is to change some habits.
“For example, try walking or cycling to your place of work or study instead of using a car, or engage in active sports with your children or grandchildren. Doing activities that you enjoy and can easily add to your weekly routine is a great way to be more active.