Lack of physical exercise and the resulting inactivity could be killing twice as many as those killed by obesity, latest research has now pointed out. And all that you need to do to cut down your risk of early death by up to 30percent is a short, 20 minute brisk walk everyday or perhaps cycling to your school or work.

The findings of the research carried out over 334,161 Europeans for 12 years to assess their activity levels and waistlines and comparing those figures with those dying have now been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“The greatest risk [of an early death] was in those classed inactive, and that was consistent in normal weight, overweight and obese people,” one of the researchers, Prof Ulf Ekelund told BBC News.

Drawing attention towards the fact that inactivity kills twice the number of people killed by obesity, he said that would eliminating obesity in Europe would cut rates by just 3.6% whereas eliminating inactivity could bring down the mortality rates by as much as 7.5%, or 676,000 deaths.

He added: “But I don’t think it’s a case of one or the other. We should also strive to reduce obesity, but I do think physical activity needs to be recognised as a very important public health strategy.”

However, he says all it would need to transform health, is brisk walking.

“I think people need to consider their 24-hour day. Twenty minutes of physical activity, equivalent to a brisk walk, should be possible for most people to include on their way to or from work, or on lunch breaks, or in the evening instead of watching TV.”

Barbara Dinsdale, who works at charity Heart Research UK, could not agree more.

“This study once again reinforces the importance of being physically active, even when carrying excess weight. Changing your lifestyle is all good news for heart health, but physical activity is always easier to achieve and maintain without carrying the extra ‘body baggage’ of too much weight.”

The chief architect of the study, Prof Ekelund, is the most noteworthy role model in this regard and prefers to lead by example. The Norway based professor who is into cross country skiing himself exercises religiously for at least five hours every week.

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