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Even short bouts of physical activity in an otherwise sedentary lifestyle were associated with a significantly lower risk for dying, researchers reported.
In a study of more than 25,000 older adults who didn’t regularly exercise, engaging in a median of just three bouts of vigorous activity for up to 2 minutes each at some point during the day was linked with a 39% lower risk for all-cause mortality versus no activity at all, according to Emmanuel Stamatakis, PhD, of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues.
Even the minimum of 1.5 minute-long bouts of exercise per day reaped mortality benefits compared with not engaging in any activity at all. But those at the top of the range in this cohort — getting 11 short bursts of vigorous activity daily (about 16 minutes total) — saw all-cause mortality risk drop by even more.
Beyond all-cause mortality benefits, engaging in just a few minutes of vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity (VILPA) throughout the day was also protective against cardiovascular disease-related mortality, the group reported in Nature Medicine.
Engaging in the median frequency of three 1-minute bouts per day was linked with a 49% lower cardiovascular mortality risk. Again, those that engaged in the maximum frequency saw the biggest benefit. But even engaging in the minimum was still significantly protective against heart-related death.
Stamatakis’s group also found the same pattern in regards to cancer-related mortality risk.
“We found that as little as 3 to 4 minutes of VILPA per day was associated with substantially reduced mortality risk compared to doing no VILPA,” Stamatakis told MedPage Today, noting how these were “very sizeable effect sizes.”
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