While it is well known that intense exercise can help you get fitter, a new study has found that even a little exercise can still go a long way. Study participants who traded time on the sofa for a total of 30 minutes of walking during the day reduced their risk of dying over a three-year period by 33 percent.
For the participants with chronic kidney disease, the risk of dying was reduced by more than 40 percent, according to the findings, published today (April 30) in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, a complement to the government’s diet guidelines, recommend that people do at least 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic physical activity (such as running, swimming or biking), or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking) every week to reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
But the researchers on the new study wanted to know what the minimum threshold was — the lowest amount of physical activity that could still provide health benefits, said Dr. Srinivasan Beddhu, a kidney specialist at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City and lead author of the new study.
“We know prolonged sitting is associated with poor [health] outcomes,” Beddhu told Live Science. “This study specifically looked at what intensity of activity should be used to replace sedentary activity. The term ‘sedentary activity’ might sound like an oxymoron, but being sedentary is an active choice to indulge in activities that barely raise the energy expenditure above basal metabolic rate.”