By Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Jan. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Take a stand for a longer life.
Researchers say even a few extra minutes off the sofa each day can add years to your life span.
"If you have a job or lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting, you can lower your risk of early death by moving more often, for as long as you want and as your ability allows -- whether that means taking an hour-long high-intensity spin class or choosing lower-intensity activities, like walking," said study lead author Keith Diaz.
He's assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University in New York City.
The new study involved nearly 8,000 American adults, aged 45 and older. Each wore physical activity monitors for at least four days as part of research conducted between 2009 and 2013. The investigators then tracked deaths among the participants until 2017.
The results: People who replaced just 30 minutes of sitting per day with low-intensity physical activity lowered their risk of an early death by 17 percent, according to the study published online Jan. 14 in the American Journal of Epidemiology .
More intense exercise reaped even bigger rewards, the researchers said. For example, swapping a half-hour per day of sitting for moderate-to-vigorous exercise cut the risk of early death by 35 percent.
And even just a minute or two of added physical activity was beneficial, the findings showed.
"Physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits," Diaz said in a university news release.
His team pointed to a recent study that found that one in every four U.S. adults sit for eight-plus hours per day.
Two experts in heart health believe that level of inactivity can be a killer.
"Exercise, at any risk level for cardiovascular disease, is shown to improve not only how long one lives, but also lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes," said Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
And heart specialist Dr. Guy Mintz said there are many ways Americans can change their slothful ways. He directs cardiovascular health at Northwell Health's Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.