Researchers say people can raise their chances of living a longer life by moving just a little bit more and sitting a little less.
In the study, led by the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, deaths fell steeply as levels of light-intensity activity increased - with every minute up to five hours offering additional benefits for a person's wellbeing.
When the intensity of physical activity increased to a moderate level, a similarly steep decrease in deaths occurred up to a plateau of just 24 minutes a day. Moderate-intensity activities include brisk walking, vacuuming or mowing the lawn.
In contrast, the study found that sitting for 9.5 hours or more each day was linked with a significantly higher risk of death.
Researchers from the University of Leicester reviewed eight previous studies involving 36,383 adults aged 40 or over, who wore trackers.
Their health was monitored for an average of 5.8 years, during which time 2,149 died.
"These findings really reinforce the saying 'Doing something is better than doing nothing," said Dr. Charlotte Edwardson, an associate professor at the university.
"They show that physical activity of any intensity lowers the risk of death."
If you're someone who doesn't achieve the recommended levels of moderate-intensity physical activity, Edwardson said, then "pottering around more at work or at home and just generally being on your feet more, will still be beneficial."
Professor Thomas Yates, also from the University of Leicester, described the results as "fantastic."
"It has previously been widely assumed that more is better in terms of physical activity for health," he said.
"However, this study suggests health may be optimized with just 24 minutes per day of brisk walking or other forms of moderate-intensity physical activity."
The findings are published in the BMJ.
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