If you thought that a thin frame was proof of good health, you might reconsider your position.Not getting any exercise can actually be more lethal than obesity, according to a new study.
Scientists from the University of Cambridge found that being physically inactive caused twice as many deaths as obesity does.
"This is a simple message: Just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits for people who are physically inactive,” says professor Ulf Ekelund.
There is some good news: You don’t need to run a marathon every day to get the benefits of physical activity. A brisk 20 minute walk daily could be enough to considerably reduce the risk of an early death.
But of course, when it comes to burning calories and using your muscles, the more, the better. He insists: “Although we found that just 20 minutes would make a difference, we should really be looking to do more than this – physical activity has many proven health benefits and should be an important part of our daily life."
The findings are the result of analyzing data from 334,161 men and women across Europe over 12 years, measuring their levels of physical activity as well as their height, weight and waist circumference.
Experts estimate exercise equivalent to a 20-minute brisk walk reduces the risk of premature death between 16 and 30 per cent.
There are many ways to get these vital 20 minutes of daily activity:
• ride a bike to work
•take a fitness class at lunchtime
• play with the kids outdoors
• get off the bus or subway two or three stops early
"Helping people to lose weight can be a real challenge, and whilst we should continue to aim to reduce obesity levels, public health interventions that encourage people to make small but achievable changes in physical activity can have significant health benefits and may be easier to achieve and maintain,” adds professor Nick Wareham.