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Study finds 15 minutes of moderate daily exercise lengthens life
Date:8/16/2011

HOUSTON -- Taiwanese who exercise for 15 minutes a day, or 92 minutes per week, extended their expected lifespan by three years compared to people who are inactive, according to a study published today in The Lancet.

"Exercising at very light levels reduced deaths from any cause by 14 percent," said study senior author Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Epidemiology. "The benefits of exercise appear to be significant even without reaching the recommended 150 minutes per week based on results of previous research."

Lead author Chi-Pang Wen, M.D., of the National Health Research Institutes of Taiwan, and colleagues also found that a person's risk of death from any cause decreased by 4 percent for every additional 15 minutes of exercise up to 100 minutes a day over the course of the study. Those exercising for 30 minutes daily added about four years to life expectancy.

"These benefits were applicable to all age groups, both sexes and those with cardiovascular disease risk," the authors note.

If inactive people in Taiwan were to do low-volume daily exercise, one in six deaths could be postponed by their reduced risk of dying, the authors report. It would be an estimated reduction in mortality similar to that from a successful tobacco control program.

The prospective observational study involved 416,175 Taiwanese who participated in a standard medical screening program run by MJ Health Management Institution between 1996 and 2008. Participants were followed for an average of eight years.

For the exercise study, participants completed a questionnaire covering their medical history and lifestyle information. They characterized their weekly physical activity for the previous month by intensity -- light (walking), moderate (brisk walking), vigorous (jogging) or high vigorous (running) and time.

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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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