There is no need to spend hours on a treadmill at the gym to get fit, suggests a new study, which found that the key to a longer life could be as simple as taking a gentle stroll for just half an hour a day.
Experts say that a daily walk to the shops can cut the risk of early death by 20 per cent.
"Our research confirms that it is not just exercising hard that is good for you. Even moderate, everyday activities like walking and cycling can have major health benefits," the Daily Express quoted James Woodcock, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as saying.
"Just walking to the shops or walking the children to school can lengthen your life - as well as bringing other benefits for well-being and the environment.
"It is a very important message to get across, that small amounts of light to moderate activity on a regular basis will have quite large benefits," Woodcock added.
The study, carried out with researchers at Cambridge University and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, showed the largest health benefits were in people who did hardly any physical activity.
Woodcock said: "Large benefits were found in people going from being a couch potato to doing some activity."
The study has been published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.