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Half an hour more exercise a week ‘adds a year to life expectancy’

Previously inactive people see even greater improvements

People could boost their life expectancy by up to five years by incorporating extra exercise into their weekly routine, according to Vitality.

Research by the insurer suggests people could increase their life expectancy by more than a year by adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise into their weekly routine.

Analysing the activity levels of 141,000 people over a one-year period, Vitality found those who increased their exercise levels from the recommended 2.5 hours a week to three hours a week saw their life expectancy boosted by 1.7 years.

Those who previously did very little exercise – less than 30 minutes a week – saw even greater improvements. Inactive people who incorporated 90 minutes of exercise to their week boosted their life expectancy by three years, while those who exercised for three hours a week added four years onto their life span.

The best 10% of those that added at least 30 minutes of exercise increased their life expectancy by over five years on average. 

According to Public Health England, physical inactivity accounts for nearly one in six deaths in the UK each year and is a major risk factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.

Nick Read, Vitality programme managing director at Vitality, said adding only an extra 20% of activity a week can have a massive impact on health.

“As the research shows, you don’t have to run a marathon to notice the benefits – simply going for a 30 minute walk can make a big difference to your life expectancy,” he stated.