Going for a brisk walk for two-and-a-half hours a week could prevent an early death caused by a lack of sleep, new research suggests.
A study of 380,055 people over 11 years found that exercising in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines helped prevent strokes, heart disease and cancer.
The research suggested that two-and-a-half hours of walking or one hour and 15 minutes of running per week “eliminated most of the deleterious associations” of poor sleep and risk of an early death.
It indicated that people who did low levels of exercise and slept poorly were 57% more likely to die prematurely compared to those who exercise a lot and slept better as a result.
They also had a 67% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 45% bigger chance of being diagnosed with cancer.
Of the 380,055 people – with an average age of 65 – used in the study – 15,503 had died by the end.
Some 4,095 had died of cardiovascular diseases, 9,064 of cancer, 1,932 of coronary heart disease, 359 from a brain haemorrhage and 450 from a blood clot-related stroke.
The researchers, who work at University College London (UCL) and the University of Sydney commented: “Our results support the value of interventions to concurrently target (physical activity) and sleep to improve health.”
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