15 Minutes of Exercise a Day May be Just Enough: Study

2 minute read

Clocking just 15 minutes of exercise a day may be enough for older adults who, like many people, don’t or can’t meet the 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise recommended by the government.

Getting exercise is important for aging, as it can help prevent the complications that arise from being sedentary, can combat brain aging and memory loss and reduce the risk of heart disease. But many people don’t meet these requirements, and finding a middle ground may make exercise feel more attainable.

In a study presented at EuroPRevent 2016 meeting, French researchers studied a group of 1,011 people who followed 65 year olds for 12 years. They also looked at another large group of 122,417 people who were around 60 years old and were followed for around 10 years.

The study authors found that the risk of death lowered during the study as people exercised more. Even people with low physical activity levels, half the recommended amount, had around a 22% lower risk of death compared to inactive people. The researchers say that amount of exercise is the equivalent of a 15 minute brisk walk every day.

As TIME reported earlier this week in our post about “How to be a Basically Healthy Person,” there’s growing consensus among some exercise researchers that perhaps people, especially the elderly, can still achieve improved health with less.

“Fifteen min per day of moderate and vigorous physical activity could be a reasonable target dose in older adults,” the study authors conclude. “Small increases in physical activity may enable some older adults to incorporate more moderate activity and thus get closer to the current recommendations. If more may be better, ‘Even a little is already good’.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com