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Short bursts of everyday activity ‘could go a long way’ to prolonging life: study

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Stressing about not having enough time to exercise? Adding some oomph to everyday activities could help you compensate – and live longer.

Researchers at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre found that three to four daily, one- to two-minute bursts of activity such as climbing stairs or walking fast can lower the risk of death by up to 40% – and the risk of cardiovascular disease by nearly 50%.

The researchers analyzed wrist-worn tracker data from about 25,000 participants in the UK Biobank research database. People were followed for seven years. The participants indicated they didn’t play sports or exercise during leisure time, leading the researchers to deduce that any physical activity was related to everyday living.


“Our study shows similar benefits to high-intensity interval training can be achieved through increasing the intensity of incidental activities done as part of daily living, and the more the better,” said lead study author Emmanuel Stamatakis, a professor of physical activity, lifestyle and population health at the university. “A few very short bouts totaling three to four minutes a day could go a long way, and there are many daily activities that can be tweaked to raise your heart rate for a minute or so.”

The study was published online in the journal Nature Medicine.

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