Just 11 Minutes a Day of Physical Activity Has Major Benefits

That's half the recommended level, but it's enough to lower disease risk
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2023 8:15 AM CST
Just 11 Minutes of Exercise Daily Lowers Disease Risk
"What we’ve found is there are substantial benefits to heart health and reducing your risk of cancer even if you can only manage 10 minutes every day," researchers say.   (Getty Images/DragonImages)

Researchers in Britain analyzed almost 200 studies to get some hard numbers to back up the common-sense advice that exercise is good for you and a little bit is much better than none. "One in 10 premature deaths could have been prevented if everyone achieved even half the recommended level of physical activity," researchers wrote in the study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The recommended level of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is 150 minutes a week, or around 22 minutes at day, but researchers said just 11 minutes a day results in an "appreciably lower risk of mortality, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers."

Aerobic activites include "walking, dancing, running, jogging, cycling, and swimming," per CNN, and health experts suggest people try to find ways to include more of the physical activities they enjoy in their daily routines. "If you are someone who finds the idea of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week a bit daunting, then our findings should be good news,” lead author Dr. Soren Brage at the University of Cambridge said in a news release. "This is also a good starting position—if you find that 75 minutes a week is manageable, then you could try stepping it up gradually to the full recommended amount."

The researchers say they analyzed data from 196 large-scale studies involving a total of more than 30 million adult participants. They said 11 minutes of moderate activity was "enough to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 17% and cancer by 7%," though the reduction in risk was higher for some cancers, including those of the head and neck. The researcher say improvements were seen up to 150 minutes of exercise a week and the additional benefits beyond that were "marginal" in terms of reduced disease risk. CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen says the "compelling" research shows that while people shouldn't stop trying to get to the recommended level of activity, the "perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of the good." (Read more exercise stories.)

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