Short Bursts of Daily Activity Increase Longevity

With greater access to modern lifesaving medicine and more knowledge about healthy lifestyle habits, it is possible to live a very long and healthy life.  But sometimes it can be hard to stick to all the daily activities that support longevity and well-being – bite-sized goals can be easier to achieve and encourage the next positive decision.  Picking up the pace for just three minutes per day, short bursts during your regular routine, can make a significant difference to longevity, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

As reported in the Washington Post Well + Being section, researchers found that short bursts of intensity during daily activities like walking to the bus, climbing the stairs, or even mopping the floor can substantially impact mortality.  Just three minutes of vigorous daily activity was associated with a 40 percent lower risk of premature death in adults, even when they did no other exercise.  

Daily activities, like walking the dog, playing with grandchildren, raking the leaves or shovelling snow, when done with extra gusto raise heart and breathing rates, dialling up the health benefits.   Exercise guidelines recommend adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise and adding just a few minutes each day of greater intensity can lower the risk of dying by heart disease by nearly half, compared with people who are sedentary. 

Researchers also found that brief bursts of hurried movement at least three times a day, which may only last for a minute, over time can lower the risk of an early death by about 30 percent.  Whether you pick up the pace for a minute on the treadmill or stationary bike or jog to the mailbox, short bouts of intensity that leave you momentarily breathless improve endurance and cardiovascular health.  Incorporating these short bouts of intensity into daily chores will help make them a habit.  Turn up the music and vacuum like nobody’s watching, speed walk to your car in the parking garage, or take the stairs at a bit of a clip – and over time your heart will thank you!