woman taking stairs

Could Short Brisk Movement Breaks Help You Live Longer?

Exciting new research has found that just three ultra-short (one to two minute) brisk movement breaks, like taking the stairs or walking quickly, can reduce your chance of dying from all causes by up to 50%.  The greatest reduction was seen in those who don’t typically exercise, although regular exercisers saw tremendous benefits as well.

Intrigued? Let’s dig in further.

Recent research findings (1) found that Vigorous Intermittent Lifestyle Physical Activity (VILPA) significantly decreases the risk of dying.  VILPA is a very short, vigorous activity that you build into your daily life.  It is not the type of vigorous activity found in gym goers, runners, and those that practice high intensity interval training (HIIT).  It is also different from longer-duration leisure activities such as walking or playing golf.  With VILPA, the ultra-short sessions happen sporadically throughout the day without requiring special equipment or clothing.  This makes it more appealing and more feasible than structured exercise for many.  Household chores, walking, carrying grocery bags, and taking stairs all count provided you move at a fairly rigorous pace.

Using wearable devices, scientists tracked participants’ daily movement and their health over nearly 7 years.  What they found was remarkable- the more short, brisk movement breaks you take, the less likely you are to die from any cause.  Just three bouts of VILPA a day resulted in a 40% decrease in risk of dying from cancer and a nearly 50% decrease in risk of dying from heart disease.  The researchers then compared this data to those who engage in exercise on a regular basis and found similar results.  Considering this requires a mere 3-6 minutes a day, these results are astounding!

This simple hack is as good as it gets for promoting good health.  Aim for at least three 1-2 minute VILPA sessions a day.  For maximum success, find VILPA options that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, like taking the stairs to another floor to use the restroom at work, parking across the parking lot and walking briskly, or carrying grocery bags to the car rather than using a cart.  VILPA on!

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