THE BLOG

Is Exercise a 12 Minute Miracle?

12/04/2013 18:20 BST | Updated 12/06/2013 10:12 BST

Research shows that achieving the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week by moving 12 minutes more a day could prevent lifestyle diseases

Today we launched research in partnership with London School of Economics (LSE) which claims that increasing your daily exercise amount by 12 minutes to reach the government recommended amount of 150 minutes, could significantly reduce risk of lifestyle related diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease whilst pushing you up a pay bracket.

The findings, outlined in a report by Nuffield Health and LSE, suggest that completing the additional 12 minutes will lower the risk of high cholesterol (by 6 per cent) and high blood pressure (by 4 per cent) therefore cutting the risk of future health problems. It also shows that those who are active have an annual income of £6,500 more than their counterparts, adding a monetary incentive to the best practice message we all know.

The message that exercising is good for health and overall wellbeing is well known. However it doesn't seem to have done much for the seven in 10 of us who currently do not meet the government recommended amount of 150 minutes of exercise per week. Over half of respondents said more leisure time would encourage them to participate in sport or exercise and nearly 4 in ten people (40 per cent) blamed work commitments for their lack of participation. Data also revealed 30 per cent of respondents in the Health Survey for England 2007 would be encouraged to get active if advised by their GP. The trust placed in clinical practitioners suggests that we have a hugely important role to play in the motivating of the masses. Similarly with researchers continuing to profess the damning effects of stress and increased pressures both in the workplace and at home, the research places some responsibility with employers who it indicates should have benefits in place which support a resilient, fit and thriving workforce.

Supporting the statement, a healthy heart makes for a healthy mind, the data shows that those who complete the suggested amount of weekly exercise are 6 per cent less likely to have poor mental health. With the effects of the additional 12 minutes of exercise impacting the mind, the body (including a 7 per cent lower risk of obesity) and the public purse, the research makes a strong argument for a more collaborative well rounded approach to treatment: including perhaps the medicinal, the physical and the therapeutic.

Even the sceptical should read the report, not concerned with spoon feeding or dictation it does offer a simple achievable suggestion. And ultimately for all the excuses 12 minutes is not very long. Using the time spent watching TV adverts to complete a few exercises would help clock up the minutes as would a brisk walk to the next bus stop.

We understand that now is a time of austerity and present evidence to suggestion a revaluation of personal and public investment. Investing in our financial futures is something which appears comfortable in public consciousness, or at minimum a valued consideration. Now developing sustainable working and lifestyle practices is important; investing in our health by finding the additional 12 minutes today, may if the research is to be believed, be the difference in having more time in the future.

For more information please visit the Nuffield Health website or click here to read more about the research titled 12 minutes more...