DOING light physical activity such as cooking or washing dishes is enough to lower the risk of early death, a study suggests.
Researchers say people can raise their chances of living a longer life by moving just a little bit more and sitting a little less.
Deaths fell steeply as levels of light-intensity activity increased, with every minute offering additional benefit up to five hours.
At this stage, the risk of dying was half that of somebody who never or rarely moved.
But sitting for 9.5 hours or more each day was linked with a higher risk of death, even among those who exercised regularly.
Boffins 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.
Dr Charlotte Edwardson said: “These findings really reinforce the saying ‘Doing something is better than doing nothing.
“They show that physical activity of any intensity lowers the risk of death.
“So if you’re someone who doesn’t achieve the recommended levels of moderate intensity physical activity, then pottering around more at work or at home and just generally being on your feet more, will still be beneficial.”
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Prof Tom Yates said: “These results are fantastic. It has previously been widely assumed that more is better in terms of physical activity for health.
“However, this study suggests health may be optimised with just 24 minutes per day of brisk walking or other forms of moderate-intensity physical activity.”
The findings are published in the BMJ.