Light daily activities may increase lifespan of people who sit all day

A new study from the American Cancer Society found that even short duration, low-intensity daily exercise may increase the lifespan of couch potatoes. The study involved tens of thousands of people and concluded that getting some exercise — even if it's as simple as light walking for 30 minutes — can mitigate some of the health dangers associated with sitting all day.READ: Lack of exercise may be bigger health risk than smoking

The study followed nearly 55,000 women and 38,000 men from 1999 to 2014 and found that sedentary people who replaced 30 minutes of sitting with light exercise daily had a 14-percent lower chance of dying during the duration of the study. In this case, sedentary means people who got 17 minutes or less of "moderate-to-vigorous" exercise daily.

Though light exercise was associated with positive increases in lifespan, the study did find that moderate-to-vigorous exercise (rather than light activity) for 30 minutes daily reduced the death risk by 45-percent. However, the study didn't find any longevity benefit among people who performed moderate-to-vigorous exercise for more than 38 minutes a day.

As a result of the findings, the study concluded that adults who getting at least a little bit of light exercise daily may live longer than people who spend that time being sedentary. Light activity doesn't require much effort — it includes things like gardening, folding laundry while watching TV, taking short walks throughout the day, and similar activities.

Past research has linked a lack of physical activity with increased risk of developing cancer and other serious health problems. The body of evidence grows amid a society where being sedentary for most of the day is inevitable for some people, including those with desk jobs and long commutes.