Obesity and a lack of exercise have long been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and premature death, but a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that being inactive may take even more years off your life than being obese. However, just one brisk walk every day may reduce the risk of an early death by up to 30 percent.
Dr. Ulf Ekelund and a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge recently analyzed the health data from more than 300,000 men and women who participated in a 12-year health and nutrition study. They compared factors such as height, weight and physical activity to overall death rates and found that the rate of premature death in those who were inactive was more than double the rate of those who were obese.
Participants were classified as either inactive or moderately active. Members of the inactive group were likely to have sedentary jobs and not exercise at all, while members of the moderately active group also had sedentary jobs but reported some daily physical activity—comparable to about a 20-minute walk at a vigorous pace. Just that brief walk, the team determined, was enough to decrease the risk of an early death by 16 to 30 percent.
If indeed staying physically active—even just a little bit each day—can add years to your life, why not make it a point to get moving in 2015? Start with that brisk, 20-minute walk each day!