In fact, any activity, no matter how light or moderate—it could be a stroll or getting up to do some cooking—will increase your chances of a long life.
The difference is stark. Researchers from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences analyzed the lifestyles and health of 36,383 people aged 40 and over, and 2,149 of the participants died during the six years of the study.
Activity—or its lack—was the key to longevity, they found. People who regularly sat continuously for nine-and-a-half hours every day—excluding the time they slept in bed—were at the highest risk of an early death.
But that risk fell dramatically once people got up and started to be active. Even walking slowly, or cooking, or washing the dishes was enough to lower your risk, and the risk continued to fall the more active people were.
But the real take-home message, the researchers said, was that doing something was all that mattered. Even if work forces you to sit for long periods, just get up every so often and walk, and take a walk during your lunchbreak, too.