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Exercising just 15 minutes per day can effectively increase life expectancy compared with little or no exercise at all, according to a recent study in Taiwan involving over 400,000 individuals.

Using health screening data collected over the past 13 years, a research team led by Wen Chi-pang of the National Health Research Institutes put 416,175 healthy participants into five categories in terms of exercise volume: inactive, low, medium, high or very high activity. Those in the low activity group, who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week, or 15 minutes a day, had a 14-percent reduced risk of death, a 10-percent reduction in cancer mortality, a 20-percent reduction in cardiovascular disease, while seeing their life expectancy go up by three years, compared with individuals in the inactive group,” Wen said.

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The team’s findings, which were published online in the medical journal The Lancet, could lead doctors to revise their current recommendation to patients that they must exercise at least 30 minutes per day to stay healthy, analysts said. Even exercise of moderate intensity such as walking or jogging can improve a person’s health. Researchers hope this research can encourage veteran couch potatoes to move around a bit.

The knowledge that as little as 15 minutes per day of exercise on most days of the week can substantially reduce an individual’s risk of dying could encourage many more individuals to incorporate a small amount of physical activity into their busy lives. Government and health professionals both have major roles to play to spread this good news story and convince people of the importance of being at least minimally active. The healthy you are the more likely you will be productive. That takes the pressure off health

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