Can walking just 11 minutes a day really lower your risk of death?

According to a new study of physical activity, disease risk, and mortality, the answer is yes. The findings showed that just 11 minutes of exercise per day can lower your risk of premature death by 25 percent.

The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, analyzed the health data of more than 30 million people, looking for correlations between how much people move and how long and well they live. The research detailed that even small amounts of exercise contribute to substantial improvements in longevity and can lower the risk of developing or dying of heart disease, as well as many types of cancer. What’s more, the study’s statistical analysis suggested that one in ten of all early deaths might be averted if people decided to move just a little more than most of us currently do.

Most health agency guidelines suggest a brisk walk for half an hour a day five times a week for optimal health. However, most Americans don’t even get this moderate amount of exercise. This made the researchers examine smaller amounts of daily exercise to see if there were any health and longevity benefits.

It turns out that men and women who performed only about 11 minutes of moderate exercise a day were 23 percent less likely to die prematurely from any cause than people who moved less. Longer periods of exercise were still better in terms of the health benefits, but the researchers were glad to find that exercising for less than half the recommended guidelines would lead to so many positive benefits.

In fact, just 11 daily minutes of exercise dropped people’s risks for heart disease by 17 percent and for cancer of any kind by seven percent. For certain cancers, including myeloid leukemia, myeloma and some stomach cancers, the risk fell by as much as 26 percent.

So, it really does pay to put on your walking shoes and get some fresh air and exercise each day. You can learn more about this important study here.

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