If you want to start exercising but can’t find time in your busy schedule, you’re in luck. A two-part study conducted by scientists in Sydney, Australia found that just two minutes of daily exercise was associated with a lower risk of death.

To obtain their findings, the researchers included adults ages 40 to 69 years from the UK Biobank. Each participant wore an activity tracker on their wrist for seven days straight to measure motion and bursts of activity at different intensities throughout the day.

How do two minutes of daily exercise improve your health?

The first study enrolled 71,893 adults with an average age of 62.5 who had no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer. The scientists measured the total amount of weekly vigorous activity and the frequency of exercise lasting two minutes or less. All of the participants were followed for an average of 6.9 years. During that time, researchers observed the connection between the volume and frequency of vigorous activity with death and incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

daily exercise
A man pushing prowler; Image Credit: Jesper Aggergaard/Unsplash

According to the study results, the risk of death or incidents of cardiovascular disease and cancer reduced as vigorous physical activity increased. In fact, up to two minutes of intense exercise four times a day was associated with a 27 percent lower risk of death. The researchers note the more exercise the better, though; they found that about 53 minutes of activity a week was associated with a 36 percent lower risk of death from any cause.

In the second study, researchers analysed 88,412 adults with an average age of 62 who were free of cardiovascular disease. The scientists estimated the volume and intensity of physical activity then observed the participants’ connection with cardiovascular disease. They followed the second group for an average of 6.8 years.

Here, the researchers found that both higher amounts of daily exercise and greater intensity were associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease. When the intensity increased, the risk of heart disease decreased. For example, the rate of disease was 14 percent lower when moderate-to-vigorous activity made up 20 percent, compared to 10 percent of activity.

“Our results suggest that increasing the total volume of physical activity is not the only way to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease,” says Paddy C. Dempsey, study author and medical research scientist at the University of Leicester and University of Cambridge, in a press release. “Raising the intensity was also particularly important, while increasing both was optimal. This indicates that boosting the intensity of activities you already do is good for heart health. For example, picking up the pace on your daily walk to the bus stop or completing household chores more quickly.”

This story first appeared on www.marthastewart.com

(Credit for the hero and featured image: skynesher / Getty Images)

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