More than 110,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year in the US if adults over the age of 40 added just 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity to their daily routine, according to research.
The study found that the more people exercised, the more death rates decreased.
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, US used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHNES) to determine their findings.
They looked at the activity levels of 4,840 participants aged between 40 and 85 – recorded by the NHNES from 2003 and 2006 – and then tracked death rates through to the end of 2015.
Increasing the amount of exercise each day by 10 minutes led to a 6.9 per cent decrease in deaths per year – translating to an estimated 111,174 prevented premature deaths each year in the US.
Increasing the amount of exercise by 20 or 30 minutes per day was associated with a 13.0 per cent and 16.9 per cent decrease in the number respectively.
"In this cohort study, we estimate that approximately 110,000 deaths per year could be prevented if US adults aged 40 to 85 years or older increased their daily exercise levels by a small amount – ie, 10 minutes per day," the report authors say.
"To our knowledge, this is the first study to estimate the number of preventable deaths through physical activity using accelerometer-based measurements among US adults while recognising that increasing activity may not be possible for everyone.
"These findings support implementing evidence-based strategies to improve physical activity for adults and potentially reduce premature deaths in the US."
The research was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. To read the full study, click here.