Minimal Physical Activity Confers Mortality Benefit

Bruce Soloway, MD


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In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Just 15 minutes of exercise daily lowered 8-year mortality and cancer incidence.


Current guidelines recommend 150 minutes weekly of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) to achieve a variety of health benefits, but the benefits of less exercise are uncertain. Investigators in Taiwan studied a cohort of more than 400,000 healthy people who participated in a privately operated medical screening program during 13 years. At enrollment, patients described and quantified their LTPA levels and were grouped into five activity levels (from "inactive" to "very high volume").

Fifty-four percent of patients were "inactive" (<60 minutes of LTPA weekly), and another 22% were "low volume" (average, 92 minutes weekly). After a mean follow-up of 8 years, compared with inactive individuals, those with low-volume activity had significantly lower mortality from all causes (hazard ratio, 0.86), all cancers (HR, 0.90), cardiovascular disease (HR, 0.81), and ischemic heart disease (HR, 0.75), and a significantly lower incidence of all cancers (HR, 0.94). Most of these health benefits increased in dose-related fashion as activity level rose.


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