Increasing your activity to 150 minutes a week could prolong your life expectancy by more than three years, according to Vitality health insurance.
The findings come after a study from the The University of Maryland, which found a one off 30 minute exercise session can ward of cardiovascular disease.
Based on analysis of 6,600 members over the course of 12 months, Vitality found that previously sedentary members who increased their activity levels to the Government recommended 150 minutes a week saw their life expectancy boosted by an average of 3.1 years.
Members who increased their activity levels to 90 minutes saw an increase of almost three years (2.7 years) and exercising just 60 minutes a week saw an increase of more than two years (2.4 years).
The main barriers preventing people from taking part in sport or exercise included time constraints (31 percent), the expense (21 per cent) and people not enjoying it (19 per cent).
Since introducing rewards such as cinema tickets and Starbucks beverages for completing exercise, more than a third of members (34 per cent) who had previously been registering as inactive are now engaging in physical activity.
This was even more profound for those members who were already active, with the introduction of rewards prompting a six fold increase in those reaching weekly activity targets, the study found.
Vitality Ambassador Jessica Ennis-Hill said: “Being an Everyday Athlete doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or climb a mountain, it just means changing everyday behaviours such as walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift, or getting off a bus stop or two early to walk the rest of the way to where you want to go.
“This campaign shows how easy it is for people to make small changes that can really benefit their short and long term health.”
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