Why you don’t need crazy exercise classes to live longer

You want to get in shape. So, you go to a boot camp exercise class in a nearby strip mall gym, and it kicks your butt. You’re sweating, fumbling and, by the end, praying you’ll be able to walk out to your car without collapsing.

The next day you’ve convinced yourself that exercise was a bad idea. Everyone’s in so much better shape. It’s embarrassing. You’ll still take your dog for leisurely strolls at the park. But that’s about all the exercise you can handle at your fitness level. No more intense exercise classes.

You can’t help but feel discouraged, though, because you know that slowly walking through a park won’t do much for you. You need to sweat, push yourself, get your heart pumping to get the benefits of exercise, right?


Sure, challenging exercise has its place. But people who struggle with moderate or intense exercise, shouldn’t get discouraged. Low-key exercise can pay off big time too…

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How light exercise lengthens your life

A new research review published in The BMJ shows that exercise is the secret to a longer life — no matter what the intensity level.

The review analyzed eight high-quality studies that used accelerometers (devices that track activity intensity and volume) to measure daily activity. Researchers then compared activity levels to the risk of early death. And guess what?

Even people who did light exercise (slow walking, cooking, washing dishes, etc.) reduced their risk of early death. The more light exercise people did, the more their risk of dying decreased. In fact, people who did 300 minutes of light exercise per day (about five hours) cut their risk of early death in half.

Of course, if you’re short on time, you can always amp up your exercise intensity level a bit. People who did just 24 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (like brisk walking) per day cut their risk of early death in half too.

Related: 10 pro tips to make any workout count

But there was another important takeaway from this study…

Spending 9.5 hours or more each day sedentary (not including sleep) increased the risk of early death significantly. So, do whatever you can to be a little less sedentary.

Every little bit counts toward a longer life

If traditional exercise classes kick your butt, don’t give up. That leisurely walk around the park makes a difference. Housework, gardening and other forms of light exercise do too.

Once you build up your stamina more, you can increase your walks to a brisk pace and slash your risk of early death in half in just 23 minutes— no hardcore exercise classes required.

Editor’s note: Being fit and healthy is not as complicated as you might think. Check out this free report that includes 10 easy steps to a natural total health makeover based on just 7 basic fundamentals that cover ALL the bases… My favorite is #7: Indulge occasionally! For the rest, click here!


  1. Physical activity at any intensity linked to lower risk of early death — MedicalXpress
  2. Dose-response associations between accelerometry measured physical activity and sedentary time and all-cause mortality: systematic review and harmonised meta-analysisBMJ
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.