Forget the gym — just three to four one-minute bursts a day of vigorous activity, such as running for a bus or carrying heavy groceries, cuts the risk of an early death just as much as regular exercise, one study has suggested.
The University of Sydney used wearable trackers to track the activity levels of more than 25,000 people from the UK Biobank and followed them for an average of nearly seven years.
None of the participants took part in sports or exercise in their free time.
The team found that people who had three to four bursts of palpitations were 40 percent less likely to die from any cause during that time period, and nearly 50 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
There were 852 deaths in the study, about 3.3 percent. The results suggested that taking part in regular short bursts could cut that risk in half.
“Our research shows that similar benefits to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be achieved by increasing the intensity of incidental activities performed as part of daily living, and the more the merrier,” said Emmanuel Stamatakis, lead author and author of the study. professor of physical activity. , lifestyle and health of the population at the University of Sydney Charles Perkins Centre.
“A few very short periods totaling three to four minutes a day can go a long way, and there are many daily activities that can be modified to raise your heart rate for a minute or so.
“Increasing the intensity of daily activities requires no time commitment, no preparation, no club memberships, no special skills.
“It’s just about picking up the pace while walking or doing housework with a little more energy.”
The study found that gains grew as more short periods of vigorous activity were undertaken.
The maximum of 11 bouts per day was associated with a 65 percent reduction in cardiovascular death risk and a 49 percent reduction in cancer-related death risk, compared with no flares.
A comparative analysis of the vigorous activity of 62,000 people who exercised regularly produced similar results.
Paul Leeson, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Oxford, said of the results: “The findings are important because they are based on very robust wearable technology.
“The main limitation is that this data is observational. Therefore, it doesn’t tell us whether adding short bursts of vigorous activity to your lifestyle, if you’re not already doing it, will lower your risk.
“The findings just show us that the type of people who have a lifestyle of short bursts of vigorous activity, for whatever reason, are often the same people who live longer and avoid heart attacks.”
The research is published in the journal Nature Medicine.