New research from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom showed that doing just 11 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise, like swimming or jogging, could reduce one’s risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

By Charlene Badasie
| Published

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While exercise is great for increasing energy levels and boosting mood, it also has fantastic health benefits. This includes reducing chronic diseases and helping to manage depression and anxiety. It also improves cognitive function. The best part is you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to access these benefits.

According to CNN Health, 11 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise daily is enough to combat serious illness. The recommended workouts are walking, dancing, jogging, cycling, and swimming. The intensity level can be measured by monitoring your heart rate and breathing as you move.

During moderate exercise, you should be able to converse, while vigorous is marked by the inability to talk at all. Previous research has already credited physical activity with lowering chronic disease. But knowing how the movement volume impacts the risk levels is more challenging to figure out.

To explore this aspect of exercise, scientists at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom examined data from 196 studies. It included over 30 million adults who were followed for an average of 10 years. The results, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, focused on those who participated in 22 minutes per day.

Compared with inactive subjects, those who had done 22 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day reduced their risk of dying from any illness by 31 percent. The findings also noted a 29 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 15 percent lower risk of cancer-related death.

The risk of developing cardiovascular disease was lowered to 27 percent, with cancer down to 12 percent. Speaking about the benefits of exercise, CNN Medical Analyst Doctor Leana Wen described the study as a “compelling, systematic review of existing research.” Wen, who is also a Public Health Professor at George Washington University, further hailed the research.

 “We already knew that there was a strong correlation between increased physical activity and reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature death,” she said via CNN Health. “This research confirms it. Furthermore, it states that a smaller amount than the 150 minutes of recommended exercise a week can help.”

The good news for folks who may have less than 22 minutes to spare is that people who only did half the recommended amount of exercise also benefited. The research stated that 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week lowered the risk of premature death by 23 percent. That’s just 11 minutes of exercise per day!

An exercise carried out for 75 minutes each week also reduced the risk of getting cancer by 7 percent and cardiovascular disease by 17 percent. The study found that more than 150 minutes of movement had no significant added benefits.

“If you are someone who finds 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week a bit daunting, then our findings should be good news,” study author Doctor Soren Brage said in a press release. He added that 75 minutes per week is a good starting point for beginners who can gradually increase their exercise to the recommended amount.

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