Physical exercise for 20-minute daily cuts early death risk

London, Jan 15: A brisk 20-minute walk each day is enough to reduce an individual's risk of early death, say British researchers. After analysing over 334,000 European men and women, they also found that twice as many deaths may be attributable to lack of physical activity compared with the number of deaths attributable to obesity. We found that just 20 minutes would make a difference. Physical activity has many proven health benefits and should be an important part of our daily life, said professor Ulf Ekelund from the Medical Research Council (MRC) epidemiology unit at University of Cambridge.

For this, researchers analysed data across Europe participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study. Over an average of 12 years, the researchers measured height, weight and waist circumference and used self-assessment to measure levels of physical activity. The researchers found that the greatest reduction in risk of premature death occurred in the comparison between inactive and moderately inactive groups, judged by combining activity at work with recreational activity.

Doing exercise equivalent to just a 20 minute brisk walk each day would take an individual from the inactive to moderately inactive group and reduce their risk of premature death by between 16-30 percent, the authors noted. The impact was greatest among normal weight individuals but even those with higher BMI saw a benefit. Using the most recent available data on deaths in Europe, the team estimated that 337,000 of the 9.2 million deaths amongst European men and women were attributable to obesity. (Read: Surprising benefits of walking a 100 steps after dinner)

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However, double this number of deaths (676,000) could be attributed to physical inactivity. Encouraging people to make small but achievable changes in physical activity can have significant health benefits and may be easier to achieve and maintain, added professor Nick Wareham, director of the MRC Unit. The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (Read: Is a night walk better than a morning walk?)

Here are some health benefits of walking

1. Increase the distance you walk everyday by 0.5 km

Nobody achieved anything by stagnancy, and you too won t be doing your weight loss regime a favour by walking the same distance every day. Increase the distance you cover by 0.5 km every day, and this will give you many benefits like enhanced stamina, more energy and stronger leg muscles! According to a research, you should try and reach a level where you can walk 10,000 steps a day in order to lose weight.

2. Make sure your heart is pumping

If you want to walk for weight loss, it is important that you walk at a pace where breathing becomes more difficult than normal and you can feel your heart pumping.

3. Keep your limb movements right

A lot of people walk in the wrong manner and with a bad posture. Moving your arms in the right manner and keeping your chin parallel to the ground is extremely important. Also, try and keep your elbows close to your body. Read more about 11 ways you can use walking for weight loss

With inputs from IANS

Photo source: Getty images

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