How do researchers know that? They wore activity monitors on the wrists of 71,893 adults (age 62.5 years) for nearly seven years. After that, for the next five years, researchers tracked who died. Those who did no physical activity had a four percent risk of dying during that time. But those who did just 10 minutes per week cut that risk in half to two percent. Overall, 15 minutes of vigorous activity per week reduced the risk of death by 18 percent.
“The results suggest that accumulating short bouts of vigorous activity throughout the week may help us live longer,” study authors Dr. Mathew N. Ahmadi Australia’s Sydney University wrote in a statement. “With lack of time being the most commonly reported barrier to regular physical activity, collecting small amounts sporadically during the day may be a particularly attractive option for busy people.”
Of course, the more activity, the better. The CDC recommends 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of both. A study found that following these guidelines reduces your risk of death by 21 percent. But the same study also found that even exercising as little as 90 minutes per day had significant longevity benefits.
Longevity isn’t the only reason to sneak in a two- to three-minute workout every day. Another recent study found that even 10 minutes of exercise per week boosted happiness. Regular movement also increases your health margin, or how many years you can live without major illness.
There is a big gap between two minutes and 30 minutes, let’s say 90 minutes per day. But the studies send the same message: that exercise prolongs your life. So whatever you fit in, even if it’s a two-minute sit-up, a short dog walk or an exercise snack, it’s worth your time.
Have eight minutes left? Try this Tabata-style workout to get the most bang for your buck: