Move Smart! 15 minutes a day of brisk walking may add 3 years to your life

A recent study showed that as little as 15 minutes of brisk walking a day can reduce your risk of cancer and add about three years to your life.

Taiwanese researchers studied more than 400,000 participants from 1996 to 2008. The participants were assigned to one of five categories according their exercise activity levels: inactive, low, medium, high or very high.

More than half of the participants were classified as inactive and 22 percent as low activity.

When compared to the inactive group, the low-exercise group– those who averaged 15 minutes of moderate-activity a day like brisk walking — reduced their risk of cancer by 10 percent, risk of heart disease by 20 percent and their life expectancy was three years longer.

Researchers also found that every additional 15 minutes of exercise further reduced the risk of death by an additional 4 percent and lowered the risk for cancer by 1 percent. Mortality risk was reduced by as much as 40 percent for those in the very high activity group. However, no additional benefit was gained when exercising more than 100 minutes a day.

These results were true for both men and women and all age groups, including those at risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.This is encouraging news for people who are inactive or hesitant about starting a walking program. Walking, no matter how small, can have a huge impact on your health.

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