Skip to content

Exercise for This Many Minutes for a Longer Life, Says Science

A new study has found that very short bursts of exercise can increase your life expectancy.

For many of us, it's been a tough year for maintaining healthy habits. As our living situations change and our options for exercising outside the house decrease with the recent country-wide spike in cases, it can be tough to figure out what our usual workout routine looks like. Good news: it turns out, working the benefits of regular exercise into your life may be easier than you thought. A study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation has found that bursts of exercise as short as twelve minutes can increase your life expectancy and decrease your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, looked at the levels of hundreds of different metabolites in 411 middle-aged men and women before and after about twelve minutes of strenuous exercise. They found that the amount of DMGV, a biomarker linked to increased risk of diabetes and fatty liver disease, dropped 18 percent. Similarly, Glutamate, which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and shorter life expectancy, decreased 29 percent. This is great news for anyone with a packed schedule—just 12 minutes of vigorous exercise can fight off deadly diseases and make you live longer. (Related:21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.)

"We're starting to better understand the molecular underpinnings of how exercise affects the body and use that knowledge to understand the metabolic architecture around exercise response patterns," co-lead author Ravi Shah, MD, explains to the Harvard Gazette. "This approach has the potential to target people who have high blood pressure or many other metabolic risk factors in response to exercise, and set them on a healthier trajectory early in their lives."

Still not motivated to set aside just twelve minutes of your day to commit to living a healthier life? Consider how harmful the alternative can be—here's What Happens to Your Body When You Don't Move All Day.

For more healthy living tips, make sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Clara Olshansky
Clara Olshansky (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based writer and comic whose web content has appeared in Food & Wine, Harper’s Magazine, Men's Health, and Reductress. Read more about Clara
Filed Under