Move just 15 minutes a day to lengthen life

By Shayna Brouker • Published: November 11th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

How much exercise do you really need? If you’re gunning for gold in the 400-meter individual medley at the next summer Olympics, expect to sweat at least six hours every day. If you’re training for a marathon, carve out one to three hours to pound the pavement. If you’re a mere mortal just trying to lose weight, you’ll still need to bust your butt at the gym for 45 to 75 minutes every day to lose body fat and see results.

But what if you just want to stay reasonably fit, maintain your health and increase the chance you’ll see your grandchildren get married? Fifteen minutes a day should do it, according to a new study from Taiwan.

Researchers found that just a quarter-hour of light daily exercise, or 92 minutes a week, is enough to lengthen lifespan by three years and reduce death by any cause by 14 percent. Just to put it in perspective, walking a mile takes about that long.

What’s more, each additional 15 minutes of moving, up to 100 minutes per week, cut risk by 4 percent. And those who worked out for 30 minutes every day added about four years to their lives. That’s a bit less than the standard recommended two-and-a-half hours of working out per week.

The researchers said one in six deaths could be delayed if people who work out less than one hour a week did just a little light, daily exercise.

That’s good news for busy moms, workaholics, students and anyone juggling all of the above. Even if you can’t squeeze in a 15-minute gym session, you can move all day. Every little bit counts, so the “all or nothing” approach need not apply. Run the stairs during your lunch break, chase your toddler around the park and take a walk or do some pushups during your study break.

So get in the mindset of moving and get going for your life.