By Mark Waghorn via SWNS
One ten-minute stroll a day could add years to your life, according to new research.
A study of almost 5,000 older people found deaths fell as physical activity increased.
Just 10, 20, or 30 minutes of extra exercise a day per day reduced annual mortality rates by seven, 13 and 17 percent.
Corresponding author Dr. Pedro Saint-Maurice, said: "These findings support implementing evidence-based strategies to improve physical activity for adults and potentially reduce deaths ."
The findings are based on Americans aged 40 to 85 who wore accelerometers on their waist for a week.
Dr. Saint-Maurice, of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, said: "Adding 10 minutes per day of physical activity resulted in an estimated 111,174 preventable deaths per year.
"Greater benefits were associated with the addition of more physical activity."
The number almost doubled and tripled to 209,459 and 367,037, respectively, for 20 and 30 minutes.
Similar results were observed for men and women - including those of all ethnic backgrounds.
Volunteers were tracked for an average of ten years during which time 1,165 deaths occurred.
The researchers used a statistical technique called PAF (population attributable fraction (PAF).
It estimated the proportion that could have been prevented annually with modest increases in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).
Dr. Saint-Maurice said: "To our knowledge, this is the first study to estimate the number of preventable deaths through physical activity using accelerometer-based measurements among US adults while recognizing that increasing activity may not be possible for everyone."
For healthy adults, doctors recommend at least 150 minutes of activity or 75 minutes of moderate or vigorous aerobic activity, respectively, a week.
Dr. Saint-Maurice said: "Previous studies suggest a substantial number of deaths could be prevented annually by increasing population levels of physical activity.
"However, previous estimates have relied on convenience samples, used self-reported physical activity data and assumed relatively large increases inactivity levels - for example, more than 30 minutes per day."
Exercise helps people lose weight, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
It also protects against dementia by boosting blood flow to the brain.
Dr. Saint-Maurice said: "The potential public health benefit of changing daily physical activity by a manageable amount is not yet known.
"In this study, we used accelerometer measurements to examine the association of physical activity and mortality in a population-based sample of US adults."
It has been published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
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