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A mere 20 minutes of brisk walking daily can help prevent early death in physically inactive people, a new study shows.

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A physically inactive — or sedentary — lifestyle puts you at greater risk for cancer, Type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. It can also compromise your ability to fight off illnesses. This is even true for people who are not obese or overweight.

The recent European study, featuring over 300,000 men and woman, analyzed links between cancer and Body Mass Index (BMI). Expert analysis of the data found that twice as many deaths were attributed to poor physical activity as were attributed to obesity.

Per the findings, exercises burning 90-110 calories daily — equivalent to a 20 minute brisk walk — was enough to reclassify inactive individuals as moderately active and reduce their risk of early death by as much as 30 percent.

Professor Ulf Ekelund from the University Of Cambridge, which worked on the study, stated the obvious regarding the results: “Just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits for people who are physically inactive.”

Ekelund, however, did note that people should do more than 20 minutes of activity daily, if possible, as “physical activity has many proven health benefits and should be an important part of our daily life.”

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