Lack of exercise is more deadly than obesity, according to a study of 334,000 men and women which found that twice as many deaths are attributable to physical inactivity than to obesity.

For the study, a European heath commission tracked individuals for an average of twelve years, measuring height, weight and waist circumference, and used self-assessment to measure levels of physical activity.

"The researchers found that the greatest reduction in risk of premature death occurred in the comparison between inactive and moderately inactive groups..."

In other words, exercising enough to burn about 100 calories—the equivalent of a brisk twenty-minute walk each day—is enough to no longer qualify an individual as inactive, producing significant health benefits as a result. 

Of the 9.2 million deaths among European men and women analyzed by the study, 337,000 were attributable to obesity, classed as a BMI greater than 30. Double this number of deaths—676,000—could be attributed to physical inactivity.

The results of the study could have an impact on public health campaigns which have traditionally focussed on reducing obesity. Instead, say researchers, promoting a modest amount of exercise could realize larger gains. 

In addition to preserving your physical integrity, exercise keeps your mind sharp. As Patricia Bloom, associate professor of geriatrics at Mt. Sinai, explains, it's one of the most effective ways of preserving your brain function as you get older:

Read more at Science Daily

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