22 Minutes That Could Save Your Life

Surprisingly modest movement slashes risk of an untimely end

Robert Roy Britt
4 min readAug 29, 2022

Image: Pexels/Pavel Danilyuk

Whatever you can do to move instead of sitting around is good for your mind and body. You’re likely well aware of that by now. Yet there you sit. Perhaps you just need a little nudge? Here you go:

People who get at least 22 minutes daily of moderate physical activity (150 minutes a week) have a 63% lower risk of heart failure, scientists reported today in the journal Circulation. The risk is 66% lower for those who cut their time investment to just 75 minutes or more per week but increase the effort to vigorous levels.

“These findings indicate that every physical movement counts. A leisurely, 10-minute walk is better than sitting and no physical activity,” said study co-leader Frederick Ho, PhD, who researches and lectures on public health at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. “And, if possible, try to walk a little faster, which increases the intensity and potential benefits of exercise.”

Such modest effort has outsized benefits beyond the body, too. Getting 22 minutes of daily moderate activity has been linked directly to sharper minds, less stress and anxiety, greater happiness, and longer life, as we’ll see below.

Moderate activity is something between when “conversation is easy” and “you can hear your breathing but you’re not out of breath.” The same level of effort can be achieved by any movement you enjoy: dancing, biking, gardening, pickleball, yoga. Even energetic housework, if that’s your thing.

Every little bit helps

The new study monitored the health of 94,739 UK adults for six years after they’d worn activity trackers for a week. The participants averaged 56 years of age at the outset and had no previous history of heart failure.

“There are many potential ways that regular physical activity may reduce the risk of developing heart failure,” Ho said in a statement. “For example, physical…

Robert Roy Britt

Founder/editor of Wise & Well on Medium & the Writer's Guide at writersguide.substack.com & author of Make Sleep Your Superpower amazon.com/dp/B0BJBYFQCB