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Ema Stanovská
December 18, 2022, 10:00am
Reading time: 2:22

Too lazy To Work Out? Scientists Recently Said That Getting Even A Little Breathy Every Day Will Prolong Your Life

It doesn't matter if you get sweaty from running or doing housework - both extend your life just the same.

Ema Stanovská
December 18, 2022, 10:00am
Reading time: 2:22
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New research by Australian scientists came up with a finding that will especially please "forever-beginner" fitness freaks or people who admit to themselves, that they simply don't like sports. It has been proven that just one minute of intense physical activity three to four times a day significantly reduces the risk of premature death, especially caused by cardiovascular diseases.


The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, is the first to accurately measure the health benefits of what the researchers called "vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity" (VILPA).

VILPA are very short periods of intense activity (up to one to two minutes) that you do basically every day. For example, when you're running to the bus, scrubbing dried dirt off the couch, or playing games with your hyperactive nephew.


Just a little more energy

Researchers have found that as little as three to four minutes of such activity per day is associated with a 40 percent reduction in the risk of dying from cancer and up to a 49 percent reduction in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Of course, you won't get muscular calves and the fitness of a marathon runner by washing the floor for three minutes.

"Our study demonstrates that similar benefits to those provided by high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be achieved by increasing the intensity of daily activities – the more the better," said lead author Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Charles Perkins Center at the University of Sydney. "There are many common activities we can do to get our heart rate up for at least a minute."


Most adults aged 40 and over do not engage in regular exercise or sports, Professor Stamatakis stressed, adding that the results of this study may help overcome many of the barriers that prevent people from exercising regularly.

"Increasing the intensity of daily activities requires no time commitment, no preparation, no club membership, no special skills. It simply means, for example, speeding up your walking pace or doing housework with a little more effort," the scientist concluded.


Every move counts

The researchers used data from the UK Biobank, a large biomedical database, to monitor more than 25,000 'non-exercising' participants who self-reported not playing sports or exercising in their spare time. Using this method, the researchers concluded that any activity recorded by this group was incidental physical activity performed as part of everyday life.

The team then gained access to their health data, which allowed them to monitor the participants for seven years.

It showed that 93 percent of all VILPA activities performed by "non-exercising" participants lasted under one minute. On average, they completed eight VILPA activities each day, lasting approximately 45 seconds. The daily average was six minutes VILPA.

It has been shown that the more VILPA activities, the higher the health benefit. 11 VILPA a day was associated with a 65 percent reduction in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 49 percent reduction in the risk of dying from cancer—compared to those who never wheezed.

Interestingly, a comparative analysis of the intense activity of 62,000 people who regularly engaged in exercise produced comparable results. It follows that whether vigorous activity is performed as part of structured exercise or household chores does not change the overall health benefit.

From the findings so far, the benefits of physical activity can only be achieved through structured physical activity, such as sports or running. It was not until 2020 that the WHO recognized that "every activity counts" and abolished the provision that only movement lasting at least ten minutes at a time is beneficial.

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Thumbnail: Flickr/Nenad Stojkovic
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