Researchers identify amount of exercise needed to lower risk of 5 diseases

Higher levels of physical activity can achieve bigger reductions in the risk of five common chronic diseases, but only if people engage in levels far above the recommended minimum exertion, a study has suggested.

According to the report, published in the journal BMJ, the greatest benefit comes at 3, 000 to 4, 000 MET minutes a week.

If you want to protect yourself from chronic diseases, you need to exercise more.

Researchers from the United States collaborated with a team from Australia to comb through the results of 174 studies published between 1980 and 2016.

The minimum recommended amount of exercise should be increased, researchers have said after a new study found that more exercise can drastically lower a person's risk of five serious diseases.

MET measures express the energy cost of physical activity, which is calculated by the number of calories an activity can burn multiplied by the number of minutes a person is engaged in said activity. "Getting 3,000 to 4,000 MET minutes a week may seem like quite a bit, but it is achievable when you focus on total activity across all domains of life", says study co-author Hmwe Kyu, PhD, acting assistant professor of global health at the University of Washington.

Experts believe that if they ask for higher levels of physical activities, the benefit across the world population will be lowering the risk of chronic diseases. That recommendation could be achieved with about 150 minutes per week of brisk walking or 75 minutes per week of running, for example.

The World Health Organisation now states people should conduct 600 metabolic equivalent minutes (MET) of physical activity a week. Researchers provided an example of a day's worth of physical activity that can help you achieve your weekly quota: walking or cycling for 25 minutes, running for 20, gardening for 20, vacuuming for 15, and climbing the stairs for 10.

A new study has found that regular exercise may help ward off at least five common diseases, demonstrating yet again the importance of regular physical activity for one's health and wellbeing.

This can include being more mobile at work, doing more housework and walking or cycling instead of using the vehicle or bus.

To determine this new exercise goal, a team of researchers from the USA and Australia took a look at 174 different studies, allowing them to consider multiple health issues and many different types of activities.

For colon cancer, heart disease and stroke, the risk fell by more than a quarter.

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, reacted to the findings in an accompanying editorial.

Vanessa Coleman