If all you can do is get out for a long walk over the weekend, do it. Any exercise will improve your odds of a healthier, longer life, a new study shows.
The World Health Organization recommends that anyone between 18 and 64 years old perform at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, at least 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or equivalent combinations.
For those who don’t feel they can carve out that much time, researchers at the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine in Loughborough, England, are clear: Just do something. Surveys of nearly 64,000 adults in England and Scotland from 1994 to 2008, show that weekend warriors, or those who only exercise a couple of days a week, are 30 percent less likely to die of cancer and cardiovascular disease than those who are completely inactive. The study results were published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Those who exercise regularly cut their risk even more, by 35 percent.
There are other known benefits to exercising regularly if you can. Regular physical activity can help prevent dementia, depression, other mental health issues, unhealthy sleep patterns and diabetes, according to Hannah Arem, a health researcher at George Washington University. Despite knowing this, "an estimated 24 percent of U.S. adults engaged in no leisure time physical activity in 2013," Arem wrote in an accompanying editorial.