Light physical activity – including walking or doing the housework – could reduce the risk of death, a study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine have revealed.
Thirty minutes of activity was enough to raise your chance of living longer by up to 12 per cent, researchers claimed.
An extra half an hour a day of moderate activity – cycling at a leisurely pace, or power walking – was linked to a 39 per cent lower risk of death.
The NHS currently recommends adults to do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.
“When we get up from the couch and chair and move around, we are making good choices and contributing to our health,” said Dr Andrea LaCroix, senior author of the study.
“A lot of what we do on a daily basis is improving our health, such as walking to the mail box, strolling around the neighbourhood, folding clothes and straightening up the house.
“Activities like these account for more than 55 per cent of how older individuals get their daily activity.”
Boost levels of physical activity, whether it be from light or moderate activity, could be almost as effect as rigorous regular exercise in preventing a major chronic disease, LaCroix claimed.
The study analysed the daily activity of 6,000 women, all aged from 65 to 99.
They wore devices that tracked their physical activity for seven days in a row, and had follow-up checks after four and half years.
All categories of subgroups benefited from light activity, including different races, ages and body shapes.
The findings showed that there were health benefits at activity levels below the guideline recommendations, said LaCroix.
“We don’t have to be running marathons to stay healthy. The paradigm needs to shift when we think about being active,” she said.
Moderate aerobic activity included brisk walking, cycling, hiking, pushing a lawn mower and doing water aerobics, according to the NHS.
By meeting recommended levels of physical activity, the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes could be halved, it said.
Being active everyday also improves self-esteem, reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, and could help to maintain a healthy weight.