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Moderate Exercise May Increase Lifespan

If you have trouble getting the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise, take heart: a recent Taiwanese study suggests that even 15 minutes of light exercise daily can reduce your risk of death by 14%.

The study was conducted by researchers from the National Health Research Institutes of Taiwan and was published in The Lancet on August 16, 2011.

Participants included 416,175 individuals who underwent an initial medical screening and were then observed for 8 years. The participants completed a questionnaire that included medical history, lifestyle information and how much time they spent exercising on a weekly basis during the previous month.

They were also asked to classify their level of exercise as light (walking), moderate (brisk walking), vigorous (jogging), or high vigorous (running) and to describe their physical activity at work.

In addition to the 14% death reduction mentioned above, the researchers found that each additional 15 minutes per day of exercise decreased the risk of death from any cause by 4%. They noted that people exercising for 15 minutes daily increased their life expectancy by 3 years, while those who exercised the full recommended 30 minutes daily increased their life expectancy by 4 years.

Most surprisingly, people who exercised even at the lower level of 15 minutes daily had lower death rates than inactive people regardless of age, gender, health status, tobacco use, alcohol consumption or cardiovascular disease risk.

Keeping your body fit is essential to overall good health but people often find that they just don’t have the time. Try working exercise into your daily routine; take the stairs instead of the elevator or make a point to walk around your office at different intervals during the day.

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