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A quick daily walk could prevent 10 per cent of early deaths

Posted on the 27th March 2023

Brisk Walk

A brisk 11-minute daily walk could prevent one in 10 premature deaths worldwide, according to the largest ever study of its kind.

Equating to 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity over a week, the total is half of the 150 minutes currently recommended by the NHS.

The study by Cambridge University found that brisk walking, dancing, cycling and playing tennis can potentially cut the risks of early death, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, including those of the head and neck and myeloid leukaemia.

Using 196 peer-reviewed articles, researchers examined evidence from more than 30 million participants from 94 large study cohorts.

They then studied the association between levels of physical activity and the risk of heart disease, cancer and early death.

Accumulating 75 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity lowered the risk of early death by 23 per cent. It was also enough to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 17 per cent and cancer by 7 per cent.

Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the researchers calculated that if everyone in the studies had done the equivalent of at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity, about one in six (16 per cent) early deaths would have been prevented.

However, even if everyone had managed at least 75 minutes a week, about one in 10 early deaths would have been prevented.

Moderate-intensity physical activity is defined as activity that raises the heart rate and makes people breathe faster, but not so fast that they cannot speak.

Current NHS guidelines recommend that adults should do some type of physical activity every day with a total of 150 minutes of moderate activity weekly.

Related: The secret to good health? Exercise and ‘satisfying’ relationships

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