Is 8 Minutes of Exercise Enough?

A mere eight minutes of exercise a day – 54 minutes a week – is enough to lower the risk of early death and heart disease. 

In a study published in the European Heart Journal, scientists examined data from fitness trackers worn by nearly 72k people in the UK. After a 6-year mean follow-up, researchers found that eight minutes of vigorous physical activity a day lowered the risk of early death by 36%, and the risk of CVD by 35%. 

Here’s a sample of how different weekly exercise lengths correlated with mortality and cardiovascular disease incidents : 

  • 15 minutes/week → 16-18% lower all-cause mortality
  • 20 minutes/week → 40% lower CVD mortality
  • Further beneficial associations observed for up to 50-57 minutes per week. 

The people who exercised even more saw greater improvements, but the protective effects of vigorous exercise began to plateau around 54 minutes. 

The Takeaway

The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. But still, a majority of Americans fail to meet these guidelines. Perhaps aiming for eight minutes of intense movement each day may help make exercise more accessible and achievable.

It’s hard to keep up with all the data pertaining to optimal exercise routines for health and longevity. But all studies seem to agree that getting your body moving – even for just a handful of minutes – has life-changing effects. 

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