Finally, some good news for people hovering one step above couch potato: Doing only 15 minutes of exercise a day — just one-and-three-quarter hours a week — could add three years to your life.
A study published in The Lancet Aug. 16 showed that even a minimal amount of intense exercise reduced a person's risk of death from all medical causes by 14 percent and increased life expectancy by three years.
Researchers made their assessments based on a medical screening program in Taiwan that included 416,175 people between 1996 and 2008, with an average follow-up of eight years.
On the downside, individuals in the inactive group in the study had a 17 percent higher mortality risk than patients exercising for 15 minutes a day. People who exercised longer than 15 minutes a day had even more benefits. For every additonal 15 minutes a day of exercise, there was an additional 4 percent reduction in risk of death from all natural causes and a 1 percent reduction in risk of death from all cancers. Researchers said the results apply to all age groups and both sexes.