Two minutes of exercise can help you live longer and reduce heart attack risk

Eating healthy and exercising will always be key when it comes to adding healthy years to your life.

When it comes to exercise and reducing your risk of early death, turns out a two-minute activity done regularly could make all the difference.

The new research, which was published in European Heart Journal, found short bursts of exercise done for around 15 minutes a week will help greatly when it comes to a person’s longevity.

It would seem adding a few extra years to your life doesn’t have to mean hours slogging it out in the gym as previously thought.

“The results indicate that accumulating vigorous activity in short bouts across the week can help us live longer,” explained Dr Matthew Ahmadi of the University of Sydney.

He continued: “Given that lack of time is the most commonly reported barrier to regular physical activity, accruing small amounts sporadically during the day may be a particularly attractive option for busy people.”

The research sheds further light on how the intensity of the exercise – rather than the length – is more important when it comes to cardiovascular health.

This was found after looking at adults aged between 40 and 69 using data from the UK Biobank.

By measuring motion concentrating on sporadic activities, participants were monitored using a tracker on their wrist.

Researchers noted that the risk of all five adverse health outcomes as we get older were reduced due to the short bursts of vigorous activity.

Cardiovascular disease outcome and cancer risk were also seen to be reduced.

Risk of dying lowered with short bursts of intense exercise

It concluded that a person’s risk of dying with no vigorous activity was 4% within five years, but that risk was halved to 2% with less than 10 minutes of weekly vigorous activity, and fell to 1% with 60 minutes or more.

Compared with just two minutes of vigorous activity per week, 15 minutes was associated with an 18% lower risk of death and a 15% lower likelihood of cardiovascular disease, while 12 minutes was associated with a 17% reduced risk of cancer.

Even better than that, for those who were able to increase their intensity, further gains were observed beyond those figures.

Another study also found the rate of cardiovascular disease was 14% lower when moderate-to-vigorous activity accounted for 20% rather than 10% of activity – the equivalent of converting a 14-minute stroll into a brisk seven-minute walk.

“Our results suggest that increasing the total volume of physical activity is not the only way to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease,” said Dr Dempsey.

Intense workouts, no matter the duration, have also been found to positively impact blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, muscle mass and body composition.

Dr Dempsey concluded: “Raising the intensity is 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.”