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Study finds 10 minutes of exercise a day could prevent 100k deaths annually

Thursday, January 27th 2022, 2:18 pm - A little bit of exercise goes a long way, the study finds.

We've known for a while that exercise is good for health and well-being. This can be especially true for people who exercise outside - studies have shown that spending time in nature is soothing to the soul.

Now, another study published this week in the journal Jama Internal Medicine finds that a little goes a long way.

The authors estimate 111,174 deaths could be prevented in the U.S. each year if adults increased their "moderate-to-vigorous physical activity" by about 10 minutes a day. That equates to about 1,000 additional steps.

The studies focused on adults aged 40-85+, and the results appear to hold true for people of all races and genders. By comparing activity monitor data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey from 2003-2006 with National Death Index data available to the end of 2015, researchers found approximately 6.9 per cent of annual deaths could be averted by small increases in physical activity.

Larger increases in physical activity equate to larger benefits, the study found.

While the paper did not determine why exercise equates to a longer life, previous studies suggest physical activity can lower the risk of developing several cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and some cancers, the authors say.


Exercising outdoors in winter can present unique challenges, but can be managed safely.

Experts recommend maintaining core temperature with insulating clothing, covering your skin, and protecting your breath and lungs - which are especially vulnerable to cold air.

Michael Kennedy, Associate Professor at the University of Alberta who specializes in Kinesiology and Recreation, told The Weather Network people should refrain from exercising outdoors once the temperature starts hovering around the -15C mark - the threshold where people tend to start feeling respiratory distress due to the cold.

“When the temperature takes a dive, so should the intensity of your workout,” Kennedy said.

“Although it sounds counterintuitive, going inside immediately after a cold-weather workout causes more stress on the lung because the already-stressed airways have to work harder to humidify the air at a warmer temperature. Take an easy warm down for five to 10 minutes until your breathing returns to resting levels before you head indoors. You will certainly cough less, and your lungs won't feel like they are burning as much."

Thumbnail: Custom graphic by Cheryl Santa Maria. Image credit: Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels.

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