Just walking 20 minutes a day at a brisk pace could be enough to prevent an early death, say researchers who reckon that inactivity is twice as deadly as obesity.

Walking every day can reduce the risk of premature death by up to 30 per cent, say researchers at Cambridge University, who have assessed the lifestyles and health of 334,161 men and women around Europe. They estimate that 337,000 of 9.2 million deaths recorded across Europe are the result of obesity—where the body-mass index (BMI) is 30 or over—but double that number, 676,000 deaths, were the result of inactivity.

In their study, the researchers reckon that 22 per cent of the participants were inactive, which means they did no recreation activity and were sitting down most of the time at work. However, they would fall into the next category of moderate exercise if they walked every day for just 20 minutes, and this would reduce their risk of premature death by between 16 and 30 per cent.

(Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2015; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.100065)