How to prolong your life in just 11 minutes a day

Study finds people who don’t sit around all day need just 11 minutes of physical activity to get healthier

Jogging Stands Out as Best Exercise to Combat 'Obesity Genes'

If you’ve got 11 minutes of free time each day, you can lengthen your life span.

That’s what researchers at Norwegian School of Sports Medicine have found in a study recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

There is a catch, however. Those 11 minutes of activity work only if you’re not a couch potato. According to the researchers, people who are sedentary fewer than 8½ hours a day and who participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) had the same risk of death as those who were in the highest activity/least sedentary group.

Low activity levels have been associated with an increased cancer risk, increased risk of heart problems in women and a shortened life span.

But aren’t we supposed to exercise for 60-75 minutes each day?

The researchers noted that studies recommending longer periods of activity were based on self-reporting by the participants.

“Previous studies relied on self-reported exposure data for assessing the joint associations between physical activity and sedentary behaviours with mortality. Self-reported assessment of physical activity and sedentary behaviours is prone to misclassification and socialdesirability bias, likely underestimates sedentary time, and has limited validity for estimating both light-intensity and total amount of physical activity. Furthermore, the potential impact of these biases may be compounded when combining information from two self-reported behaviours,” the researchers wrote.

For this study, however, the researchers used activity monitors to track MVPA and sedentary time. The study found 35 minutes of moderate exercise — basically, a brisk walk — gave participants’ the biggest difference in extended life span, but that just 11 minutes also had a positive effect.

In total, 44,370 participants (69.7% women; mean age 65.8 years) were available for meta-analysis. They were followed for 4–14½ years (median 6 years), during which 3,451 (7.8%) participants died.

You can read the full study here.