Going for a 15-minute walk every day will “make you live longer”, reports the Mail Online.
It is one of several news outlets to report that small amounts of daily exercise may be enough to increase your chances of living longer.
A study found people aged 60 and over who did just 15 minutes of exercise a day reduced their risk of dying early by 22%, compared with those of a similar age who did no exercise at all.
To stay healthy or improve health, UK guidelines advise all adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. But many older people fail to meet this target.
The authors of the study found 75 minutes of activity a week appeared to be beneficial. They concluded that lowering the activity target could encourage more adults to take up physical activity.
However, they acknowledge that the more exercise people do, the lower their risk of ill health and early death.
Their findings were based on the results of nine studies involving more than 120,000 people, who were followed up for an average of 10 years.
They found regular exercise reduced the risk of an early death, even if people did less than the recommended amount of 150 minutes. The overall results suggest any physical activity is a good thing, even if recommended targets cannot be met.
But it is premature to say “exercise targets should be cut”, as in The Daily Telegraph. The evidence has limitations, especially the fact it was provided by pooling the results of observational studies.
This makes it difficult to know how much the reduced risk of dying is directly the result of how much physical activity we do. Further research is needed to explore the ideal amount of exercise for those aged over 60.
Older people are advised to do 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. This can be in 10 to 15-minute chunks of activities such as brisk walking, gardening, dancing or swimming. Doing some activity every day is better than doing nothing, and this is true at any age.