What if I told you that walking for 20 minutes a day would increase your life expectancy between 15-30%? I’m guessing that would be some good motivation to get off of the couch and take a walk. Let’s take that to the next level. What if there was an actual scientific study done in the last decade that could prove this. Well there is! And while you might think this would be big news, a simple way to live healthier and longer, in the United States the obesity rates keep climbing while average life expectancy keeps falling.
So let’s get to the study, which was originally published in the American Journal of Clinical Exercise, and shared through University of Cambridge Research News which is how I found the study.
Study Shows Walking for 20 Minutes a Day Can Increase Life Expectancy Up To 30%
It’s no secret that exercising regularly can add years onto your life. But what many people fail to realize is that there is a step before exercise. And that just being active for a short period every day can lead to incredible health benefits and a longer life.
Researchers from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study have found that physical inactivity is responsible for double the number of premature deaths compared to obesity.
The study analyzed data from over 334,000 men and women across Europe and found that 22.7% of participants were categorized as inactive, with no recreational activity and a sedentary occupation. Showing that the greatest reduction in risk of premature death was found in comparison between the “inactive” and “moderately inactive” groups. Researchers also found that doing exercise equivalent to just a 20-minute brisk walk each day would take an individual from the inactive to moderately inactive group and reduce their risk of premature death by between 16-30%.
The impact was greatest amongst normal weight individuals, but even those with higher BMI saw a benefit.
Key Takeaways From The Study:
- Double the number of premature deaths are caused by physical inactivity compared to obesity.
- The study analysed data from over 334,000 men and women across Europe.
- 22.7% of participants were categorised as inactive, with no recreational activity and a sedentary occupation.
- Doing exercise equivalent to just a 20-minute brisk walk each day could reduce the risk of premature death by between 16-30%.
- Even those with higher BMI saw a benefit, although the impact was greatest amongst normal weight individuals.
- The researchers estimate that 676,000 deaths could be attributed to physical inactivity. While 337,000 could be attributed to obesity.
Breaking Down the Numbers
Using the most recent available data on deaths in Europe, the researchers estimate that 676,000 deaths could be attributed to physical inactivity, while 337,000 could be attributed to obesity. Concluding that small but achievable changes in physical activity could have incredibly significant health benefits. While being easier to achieve than most people realize.
In my opinion, this study and others like it don’t get the attention they need. Most people know that working out is good for you. But with so much focus on exercise culture, it can be intimidating for those in the group classified as inactive. When the truth is most people just need to do is start moving. Walking 20 minutes a day. An astonishing low number of time. Can take someone from inactive to “moderately” inactive. Adding 16-30% onto your life. That could be the difference between living to 60 or 78.
Another interesting thing about this study is that they found “twice as many deaths may be attributable to lack of physical activity compared with the number of deaths attributable to obesity.” Again, showing us that moving and staying active is one of the fundamental keys to longevity. There really is a formula to increasing your lifespan.