Adding an extra 15 minutes of daily walking, or jogging a steady one kilometre each day, would improve productivity and extend life expectancy – leading to more economic growth, the study by the health insurance group Vitality and the think tank RAND Europe found.
The economic boost would come from lower mortality rates – in other words keeping more people alive, working and contributing to the economy for longer, the study’s authors said, and from employees taking fewer days off sick.
Hans Pung, RAND Europe’s president, said the study highlighted “a significant relationship between inactivity and productivity loss” and should give policymakers and employers “new perspectives on how to enhance the productivity of their populations”.
The WHO recommends that all adults should take at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, a week. In a study last year it found that around 40 percent of adults in the United States, 36 percent in Britain and 14 percent in China did too little exercise to stay healthy.