New This Month

This One Daily Habit Could Help You Live Longer

According to a new study, getting away from your desk for 30 minutes could have major health benefits. 

Two women walking in a park to exercise.
Photography by: Getty Images

If you find yourself like many Americans, spending as much as 28 hours a work week tied to your desk, you’ll appreciate this.

 

According to a recent study from the American Journal of Epidemiology, partaking in any kind of physical activity for just 30 minutes a day can significantly reduce your risk of early death. And considering that one in four adults spends more than eight hours a day sitting, this could be even more of a reason to get away from your computer and stretch on your lunch break. Who doesn’t need to run an errand at the pharmacy?

 

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Researchers studied 8,000 adults, middle-aged and older, who had been part of an earlier national study on strokes between 2009 and 2013. Participants wore activity monitors for a minimum of four days to track both the amount and intensity of physical activity they engaged in on a daily basis. Their activity levels were then compared with the death rate data of participants which enabled researchers to determine how moving more and sitting less could affect the risk of early death.

 

Findings showed that physical activity of any intensity, be it walking around the block during lunch or hitting the weights, can provide people with serious health benefits. Opting for a low-intensity activity, such as stretching or a short walk, could lower the risk of early death by 17 percent. On the other hand, choosing a more vigorous activity, like jogging, swimming or SoulCycle, doubled the positive effects, decreasing early death risks by nearly 35 percent. Researchers also noted that taking even a few minutes away from your desk and moving your body is beneficial.

 

[READ: The 6 Healthy Habits to a Happier and More Positive You]

 

Keith Diaz, PhD, assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and lead author of the paper says: “If you have a job or lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting, you can lower your risk of early death by moving more often, for as long as you want and as your ability allows—whether that means taking an hour-long high-intensity spin class or choosing lower-intensity activities, like walking.”