Even short bouts of exercise—5 to 10 minutes or less—accumulated throughout the day can improve health and reduce mortality rates, according to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association in March 2018.
As part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers had 4,840 people, ages 40 and older, wear a device to measure their physical activity for up to a week and then correlated their activity levels with mortality rates over the next seven years. Specifically they compared the effect of moderate-to-vigorous exercise done in bouts of at least 10 minutes, at least 5 minutes, or any duration (which included even shorter, sporadic bouts).
They found that for all three measures of duration, people who accumulated above-average total daily amounts of activity had similarly lower mortality rates, compared to those who exercised less. For exercise of any duration, daily totals of more than 40 minutes a day were associated with reductions in death rate of more than 50 percent compared to shorter totals.
“These results provide evidence that mortality risk reductions associated with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity are independent of how activity is accumulated,” the study concluded.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Short Activities Pay Off.