A new study published in The Lancet, a highly respected medical publication, shows that 15 minutes of moderate exercise per day is enough to improve health, even in those with risk factors for cardiac disease. This large study (416,000 people, including men and women), followed Tawainese participants over the course of eight years, and found that those who exercised 15 minutes a day extended their life expectancy by 3 years compared with those who did no exercise. Each additional 15 minutes per day reduced the risk of death by 4 percent more. The current amount of exercise recommended by the American College of Sports medicine is 3o minutes per day, on most days of the week.
This looks like good news for people who want to reap the health benefits of exercise, but don’t have the time or inclination to spend hours at the gym. However, I’m hesitant to recommend this regimen to most people. For one, this study had participants self-report their exercise, and was observational, meaning the health benefits seen may be due to other things besides exercise. Also, though 15 minutes may be a good start for those who are sedentary or otherwise limited, longer, and/or more vigorous exercise sessions are definitely ideal, particularly for weight loss. And considering obesity is a risk factor for many life threatening diseases, it stands to reason that doing the currently recommended 30 minutes per day would be more effective for weight loss and longevity.
So what to take from this? If 15 minutes is all you can fit in, for whatever reason, it looks like you are doing yourself some good. But, where exercise is concerned, more is always better. Well, within reason at least–you know what I mean!
Btw, turns out I have strep throat. I went to the doctor in the afternoon because I just kept feeling worse. I registered a fever of 104 at the doctor’s office, and could barely move. The physician’s assistant I saw said strep hits adults a lot harder than kids, and I can definitely attest to that. Whew. After three rounds of antibiotics, my throat is feeling better, but I’ve spent the day in bed (literally), with zero energy. Mike, ever the supportive husband, took the opportunity to tell me that getting sick is an unfair way to try to win our weight loss contest. Whatever! He is still in the lead.