Just walking for two minutes every hour reduces your risk of a premature death by a third, while cutting out one sweetened drink a day will lower your chances of developing diabetes by as much as 25 per cent, two separate studies have found.
In the exercise study, the researchers were surprised that such a modest change could have such a large benefit. Previous studies had emphasised the importance of moderate and intensive exercises and for longer periods.
Although people should still achieve 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, just standing up and walking around for two minutes every hour could improve heart health, lower the risk of diabetes, and achieve an overall lower risk of premature death by one-third, say the researchers from the University of Utah school of medicine, who followed the health and activity of 3,243 volunteers for three years.
And the other simple change is to cut out one sugary drink a day and replace it with a glass of water or a cup of unsweetened tea or coffee. Sugary drinks include sugar-sweetened juices, sweetened milk drinks and artificially-sweetened drinks such as diet colas.
People increase their risk of diabetes by 22 per cent for every sugary drink they have each day if it's something they do regularly, say researchers from Cambridge University.
(Sources: exercise: Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2015; doi: 10.2215/%u200BCJN.08410814; sugary drinks: Diabetologia, 2015; doi: 10.1007/s00125-015-3572-1)