March 26 (UPI) -- Getting just a small amount of exercise each day may significantly cut the risk of early death, new research shows.
Replacing 30 minutes of sitting time each day with moderate to vigorous exercise was associated with a 45 percent lower risk of death, according to a study published Monday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Those results were shown in people already putting in 17 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous exercise. People on this workout regime were also more likely to be thinner, more educated and less likely to smoke, leading them to suffer fewer strokes, heart attacks and early deaths.
Within the same group, replacing the 30 minutes of sitting with light exercise was linked to a 14 percent risk of death.
For the study, researchers analyzed more than 92,000 people who reported performing light workouts, as well as moderate and vigorous workouts over 14 years.
Nearly 40 percent of the time participants spent sitting was while they watched TV and 29 percent was while they were reading.
The researchers found that even doing a light workout was linked to a 14 percent reduced death risk compared to sitting around for the same time.
For participants who were already moderately active, replacing 30 minutes of sitting time with light activity was associated with a 6 percent decrease in mortality.
Heart disease is responsible for one in four deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"These findings suggest that the replacement of modest amounts of sitting time with even light physical activity may have the potential to reduce the risk of premature death among less active adults," conclude the authors.