Walking 25 minutes a day can add seven years to your life research reveals
Just 25 minutes of brisk walking a day can add up to seven years to your life, health experts have said.
New research shows regular exercise can reduce ageing and increase the average life span.
Sanjay Sharma, professor of inherited cardiac diseases in sports cardiology at St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London, said moderate exercise reduced the risk of dying from a heart attack in the average person's 50s and 60s by half.
"This study is very relevant. It suggests that when people exercise regularly, they may be able to retard the process of ageing," he said.
"We may never avoid becoming completely old, but we may delay the time we become old. We may look younger when we're 70 and may live into our 90s.
"Exercise buys you three to seven additional years of life. It is an anti-depressant, it improves cognitive function and there is now evidence that it may retard the onset of dementia."
He said everyone should be doing at least between 20 and 25 minutes of walking a day, involving brisk walking or slow jogging.
"If you know that something is 20 minutes away, try and walk it if you've got time and not take the bus," he added.
"People with a heart condition shouldn't run but walk to a point where they can still speak - but they shouldn't be able to sing. Following these simple directions is essential considering our sedentary lifestyles."
He said exercise will bring benefits, whatever age or condition.
People who start exercising at the age of 70 are less likely to go on to develop atrial fibrillation, a rhythm disturbance that affects about 10pc of people over 80.
The research was carried out by a team at Saarland University in Germany who introduced a group of non-exercising but otherwise healthy and non-smoking people to a staged exercise programme.
They showed that aerobic exercise, high-intensity interval training and strength training all have a positive impact on ageing.
The authors noted that endurance exercise and high-intensity exercise may be more efficient than just lifting weights.