Is exercise overrated? Do you really need to be active to live longer? You probably know someone who lived until their 80’s or 90’s in relatively good health that never exercised, and ate improperly their whole life. But that does not mean that is the secret recipe for longevity! They are simply the exception to the rule. In what ways can daily exercise impact how long you live? Let’s turn to the experts for answers.
- The American Heart Association says that, “Regular physical activity improves quality of life.” That respected health organization also found that regular physical activity “boosts mental wellness” as well as physical fitness levels.
- The National Institutes of Health in the United States examined information from more than 650,000 adults. Their findings? You can extend your lifespan by as much as 4.5 years when you experience regular physical activity.
- The National Cancer Institute has published research which shows physical activity, as opposed to a sedentary lifestyle, drastically reduces your risk of developing uterine, lung, and prostate cancers.
- An important Australian study which was published in PLOS One magazine took information from 8,600 Aussie women and men over a period of 15 years. What was uncovered? Regular “brisk walking” cut 10 year heart disease risk by 50%. Those first participants in the study that walked or worked out daily were 600% less likely to develop any type of heart disease.
- In the November 14, 2013 issue of Stroke magazine, the results of a study 3,500 men between the ages of 60 and 80 were released. Daily walking, at any pace, for just one or 2 hours a day cut stroke risk by as much as 33%.
A Look At the Other Side Of the Coin
Okay, so regular activity can help you live longer, and daily physical fitness efforts increase your longevity even further. But does inactivity will really harm you to any significant degree? Again, let’s check in with the experts.
- Heart.org is a US-based website dedicated to building healthier lives that are free of stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Their research shows that obese and inactive people die approximately 7 years sooner than their counterparts who are physically active.
- They also find that sedentary individuals that sit for 4 hours per day elevate their risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease by an incredible 80%.
- The March 2012 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine published similarly startling information. If you sit 11 hours a day you are immediately 40% more likely to die from any cause than someone who sits less.
- A HealthPop study revealed that too much sitting, in addition to an overall sedentary lifestyle, contributed to at least 93,000 cases of colon and breast cancer.
Stand up and get moving. Doctors, fitness experts and health professionals agree that any form of daily exercise can help you live longer. Spread just 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise throughout your weekly routine. This can be any type of moderate to intense aerobic, cardiovascular or strength training activities.
Walking, bike riding, swimming, hiking and gardening qualify – you don’t have to hit the gym.
Bonus Tip! Try not to exceed 5 hours of intense exercise per week, because some research shows that this is the point at which your health benefits level off and begin to decline.