Good news for couch potatoes: The biggest benefit of exercise in terms of longevity may occur when people go from being sedentary to doing just a little exercise, suggests an analysis of nine studies in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It included 122,000 people over 60 who were followed for an average of 10 years, during which time 18,000 died.
Those doing just a modest amount of exercise, averaging about 75 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity a week, were 22 percent less likely to die than their sedentary counterparts. People who exercised two to three times more than that gained only another 6 percent reduction in mortality, and those who exercised the most (more than 300 minutes per week), another 7 percent on top of that. “To convey a simple and attractive message...we thus recommend at least 15 minutes of exercise five days per week as a first target for older adults,” the researchers concluded.
See also: 7 Reasons to Love Exercise.