Following today’s study from The University of Maryland, which found a one off 30 minute exercise session can ward of cardiovascular disease, Vitality has found that by going one step further and increasing your activity to the Government recommended 150 minutes a week, could prolong your life expectancy by more than three years.

Key findings:

  • Making small improvements and behaving as an ‘Everyday Athlete’ can improve life span by more than three years.
  • Based on analysis of 6,600 members over the course of 12 months, Vitality found that previously sedentary members who increased their activity levels to the Government recommended 150 minutes a week saw their life expectancy boosted by more than three years (3.1 years).
  • Members who increased their activity levels to 90 minutes saw an increase of almost three years (2.7 years) and exercising just 60 minutes a week saw an increase of more than two years (2.4 years).
  • The main  barriers preventing people from taking part in sport or exercise include time constraints (31%), the expense (21%) and people not enjoying it (19%).
  • Rewarding physical activity has a direct impact on both kick starting activity and encouraging people to continue being active.
  • Since introducing rewards such as cinema tickets and Starbucks beverages for completing exercise, more than a third of members (34%) who had previously been registering as inactive are now engaging in physical activity.
  • This was even more profound for those members who were already active, with the introduction of rewards prompting a six fold increase in those reaching weekly activity targets.

 Vitality Ambassador Jessica Ennis-Hill said: “Being an Everyday Athlete doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or climb a mountain, it just means changing everyday behaviours such as walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift, or getting off a bus stop or two early to walk the rest of the way to where you want to go. This campaign shows how easy it is for people to make small changes that can really benefit their short and long term health.”