Intensive bursts of exercise could reduce the risk of early death by 30%, according to the largest ever wearable device study.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge say in order to experience the true potential of the benefits of exercise, it is the intensity that matters, not the longevity.

The trial involved heath data from more than 96,000 people so the team could investigate whether intensity was better for long-term health when compared with the total volume of activity.

Over the course of a week, the participants wore an activity tracker so the duration and intensity of movement could be collected.

The findings suggested that participating in higher exercise levels were associated with a reduced risk of mortality, regardless of the cause of death.

The research team also found that adding the equivalent of two extra minutes of brisk walking onto the end of a 35-minute stroll on a daily basis, could lower the risk of an early death by around 21%.

Lead author, Dr Tessa Strain of the Medical Research Council (MRC) at the university, said: “Our results show that doing more activity of any intensity is beneficial, but that expending those calories in more intense activity is better still. By gradually building up the intensity of physical activity we do each day we can improve our future health.”

The study has been published in the Nature Medicine journal.

The researchers concluded: “Our results show that higher volumes of activity energy expenditure are associated with lower mortality rates.”

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