People could live five times longer if they spend more time moving around and less time sitting. The study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, states that even replacing 30 minutes of sedentary time with only 10 minutes of light activity daily could still lead to good results.

The researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute on Aging, studied the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey data of 3,000 participants with ages 50 to 79 years. They asked the participants to wear accelerometers which tracked their activities for seven days.

Pixabay/Ryan Mcguire

Pixabay/Ryan Mcguire

After eight years, the agency followed up on the death rates of these individuals. They found that those who practised a sedentary lifestyle lived shorter. Even those who exercised but spent the rest of the time sitting also lived shorter.

Study researcher Ezra Fishman asserts that this study is more accurate than previous studies, which also concluded the same results. Those studies only asked participants to monitor their own activity levels, which resulted to exaggerated self-reports. Additionally, the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was also more exact than conventional surveys.

The participants’ age, smoking habits, and gender have all been accounted for. The study did not involve those below 50 years because this age group did not meet all the requirements.

The team notes that the exact amount of activity or exercise remains unclear. Still, they suggest that any amount will yield great benefits. The researchers hope that this will prompt health officials to enact policies or programmes that will get the public to get up and move.

“You didn’t have to even get a good sweat to experience the reduced likelihood of mortality,” says Fishman. “Activity doesn’t have to be especially vigorous to be beneficial. That’s the public health message.”