Any physical activity that allows you 30 minutes of exercise a day or 150 minutes a week is enough to help raise your heart rate and hinder cardiovascular disease.
Exercise is often posed as something grueling and exhausting, but a new study reveals that even 30 minutes of brisk walking, including walking to work and doing chores, could be a lifesaver.
The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study was led by the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences and included data on more than 130,000 people from seventeen countries.
What makes the PURE study stand out is that unlike other similar studies measuring the positive impact of physical activity, it includes people from low and middle-income countries.
“By including low and middle-income countries in this study, we were able to determine the benefit of activities such as active commuting, having an active job or even doing housework,” said Dr. Scott Lear, a professor of Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and the study’s lead investigator.
The study shows that many people worldwide do not meet the activity guidelines necessary to improve heart health, and that something as simple as walking to work or washing the floor could have a positive impact.
According to the research, 150 minutes of exercise a week can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 28 percent.
The results also showed that there was no cap on the amount of exercise that would be beneficial. It turned out that only 3 percent of study participants met their allotted exercise requirements by leisure activity, while the majority of the subjects were able to meet the criteria by walking to work and doing chores.
“If everyone was active for at least 150 minutes per week, over seven years a total of 8% of deaths could be prevented,” said Dr. Salim Yusuf, the director of the Population Health Research Institute.