How much physical activity do adults really need? It’s a question that’s crossed all of our minds at least once. We know many Americans have sedentary lifestyles, and, much as we hate to nag, we want to urge you to be just a little more active. Research says that burning 100 calories a day—by, say, taking a quick daily walk—could cut your risk of early death by up to 30 percent! A University of Cambridge study of over 300,000 European men and women conducted a couple of years ago has recently been in the spotlight again as health professionals urge increasingly overweight and sedentary Americans to move more.
Burning an extra 100 calories can move a person from from the ‘inactive’ to the ‘moderately inactive’ classification.
The fact is, a little more motion can mean a lot when it comes to fitness—expending an additional 100 calories (which hardly constitutes a sweaty boot-camp burn) gives you a major health boost. With this mild amount of activity, the risk of premature death is reduced by between 16 and 30 percent. While those of average weight get the greatest benefit, even those with a high BMI enjoy a good gain.
How Much Exercise Do We Need? Just A Little More Action
Says Professor Ulf Ekelund of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, who led the study, “Just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits for people who are inactive.” But they hope you’ll do more than that: “Physical activity has many proven health benefits and should be an important part of our daily life.”
For those of us with mobility and/or endurance issues, the results of this research can be profoundly motivating. The authors of the study estimate that taking a brisk 20-minute walk daily could take a person from the “inactive” to the “moderately inactive” classification. By the way, if you’re not a walker, there are other ways to do a similar amount of exercise and burn about 100 calories, from 20 minutes of ping pong to 30 minutes of cleaning up your house. So choose the activity that speaks to you—and get going!