Self-care is essential for any massage therapist planning on a long career. Beyond professional goals, good health equates to higher quality of life. New research shows that just 15 minutes of physical activity per day reduces risk of death by 14 percent and increases life expectancy by three years.

The study included more than 400,000 Taiwanese people who participated in a standard medical-screening program between 1996 and 2008, with an average follow-up of eight years, according to a press release.

On the basis of self-reported weekly exercise, participants were placed into one of five categories of exercise volumes: inactive; low; medium; high; or very high activity. The investigators calculated hazard ratios (HR) for mortality risks for every group compared with the inactive group, and calculated life expectancy for every group, the press release noted.

Compared with individuals in the inactive group, those in the low-volume activity group, who exercised for an average of 92 min per week, or about 15 minutes a day, had a 14-percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality, a 10-percent reduced risk of all-cancer mortality, and on average a three-year-longer life expectancy.

Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise beyond the minimum amount of 15 minutes a day further reduced all-cause mortality by 4 percent and all-cancer mortality by 1 percent, the press release noted. These benefits were applicable to all age groups and both sexes, and to those with cardiovascular disease risks. Individuals who were inactive had a 17-percent increased risk of mortality compared with individuals in the low-volume group.

The research was published in The Lancet.

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