One in 12 deaths can be prevented globally and one in 20 cases of cardiovascular disease could be prevented if everyone did physical activity - whether it's going to the gym, walking to work, or household chores - for 30 minutes five days a week, the study stated.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that people in the age group of 18-64 years do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, as well as muscle strengthening exercises at least two days a week.
Earlier studies in India have shown less than 10% of Indians do any kind of recreational physical activity.
Physical activity done as a means of transport, as part of one's job, or as housework, were the most common forms, the team found. In August, contrary to popular belief, the study concluded that not only is consumption of many fats good and carbohydrates bad, but that a balanced diet with just three to four servings, not the now recommended six to eight servings of fruit, vegetables and legumes can lower risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases.
But estimates suggest that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of the world's population are not meeting physical activity guidelines.
"We need to know more on how exactly we can increase physical activity".
The study included participants aged 35 to 70 from urban and rural areas in rich and poor countries, who were followed over almost seven years.
The questionnaires asked them about their weekly exercise level and other characteristics, such as medical history, lifestyle, income status, weight, height, and.
The study found "no ceiling effect", the researchers said, and "no risks associated with extremely high levels of physical activity", defined as more than 2,500 minutes, or more than 41 hours, per week.
The 17 countries taking part in the study were: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe.
Of the more than 130,000 people from 17 countries who took part in the global study, fewer than 3% who achieved high levels of activity did so through leisure pursuits.
Being highly active (750 minutes a week) is associated with an even greater reduction, and the authors found that this was more achievable for those who built physical activity into their day through active transport, job type, or housework.
The study's principal investigator Dr. Scott Lear said one in four people worldwide do not meet the current guideline.
"For low- and middle-income countries where having can cause a severe financial burden, physical activity represents a low-cost approach that can be done throughout the world with potential large impact".