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Exercise built into daily life could reduce heart disease

One in 12 deaths could be prevented by half an hour’s exercise on five days of the week, researchers have claimed.

One in 12 deaths could be prevented by 30 minutes' exercise on five days of the week, researchers suggest

Physical activity could be built into everyday activities such as cleaning. Picture: iStock

A study led by Simon Frazer University in British Columbia, Canada, explored the connection between physical activity and mortality.

Research asked 130,843 people aged 35 to 70, across 17 countries, to describe their levels of physical activity.

Participants provided information on their socioeconomic status, lifestyle, medical history, family history of cardiovascular disease, body measurements, and blood pressure.

1 in 8 deaths and nearly 1 in 10 cases of cardiovascular disease could be prevented by high activity, according to the study

Over 6.9 years, 3.8% of the 106,970 people who completed 150 minutes of exercise a week developed cardiovascular disease, compared with 5.1% who did not.

Risk of mortality was also higher – 6.4% compared with 4.2%.

The more activity a person did, the lower their risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease became. 

No risks were associated with extremely high levels of physical activity (2,500 minutes a week).

Writing in the Lancet, study author Scott Lear said higher physical activity was only achievable if it was built into a person’s transport, job or housework.

Researchers suggest if the entire population met physical activity guidelines, 8% of deaths and 4.6% of cardiovascular disease cases could be prevented.

Lear S et al: The effect of physical activity on mortality and cardiovascular disease in 130, 000 people from 17 high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries: the PURE study. The Lancet. Doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31634-3

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