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One short walk every day might extend your life!

Liz Blamire

3rd March 2023

This week the BBC reported that whilst most people do not achieve the government recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, evidence from an analysis by Cambridge University suggests that perhaps just 75 minutes per week is sufficient.

It found if everyone did as little as 11 minutes of daily activity, one in 10 premature deaths could be prevented.

The study found that 75 minutes of exercise per week could prevent 1 in 20 cases of cardiovascular disease and almost 1 in 30 cases of cancer.

What type of study was it?

The data comes from a piece of research called 'Non-occupational physical activity and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality outcomes: a dose-response meta-analysis of large prospective studies', which isn't as hard to understand as you might think!

Non-occupational physical activity This means physical activity that is done outside of work, therefore is usually done for leisure or training purposes and is typically of greater intensity that physical activity that occurs during our normal working day.

Dose-response This means they were looking to see what relationship there was between the dose, in the case number of minutes of exercise, and the response, in this case a reduction in chronic disease and mortality (death).

Meta-analysis This means looking at data from multiple independent studies on the same subject. In this case, they looked at 196 research studies.

Prospective studies These are research studies that follow groups of individuals over time, who are alike in many ways but differ by a certain characteristic, for example, women that do no exercise and women that do 75 minutes of exercise, and compares them for a particular outcome such as cancer. Sometimes these are known as prospective cohort studies. The title of the analysis states 'large prospective studies' - they only included studies with population samples greater than 10,000 adults. The benefit of this, is the larger your sample size, the more reliable and precise your findings are and the more generalisable they are to the population as a whole.

Liz Blamire

Liz is the current tutor2u subject lead for Health and Social Care. She is a former NHS midwife, who has worked in community, birth centre and acute hospital settings. Liz is an SSAT Accredited Lead Practitioner, who has taught Health and Social Care in FE and secondary schools, where she was a successful HOD. Liz is an experienced senior examiner and author.

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