New Study Links More Exercise to Living Longer

Posted on March 16, 2016

Americans face shorter life expectancies than other developed nations. This is in large part due to higher rates of obesity, which contributes to cardiovascular risk, type 2 diabetes and other chronic health problems. Accumulating research suggests that physical activity not only promotes weight loss but can actually make you live longer.

Recent Research Evidence Supporting Physical Activity

recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia found that physical activity has significant benefits to older adults. The study followed 3,000 people who participated in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants were aged 50 to 79, giving the researchers insight into the effects of physical activity during the aging process.

Participants wore an accelerometer to track their physical activity level over a one-week period. Then, they were followed over the next 8 years. The results showed that people at the lowest level of activity died at a 5-fold greater rate than those with higher activity levels. They were three times more likely to die than participants with average levels of activity.

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Recommendations for Physical Activity

So how much physical activity is the right amount for you? Sports medicine experts at the leading Long Island medical center recommend that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. This translates to 30 minutes at least five days per week. Moderate-intensity exercise is defined as anything that causes your breath to come more quickly and your heart rate to increase, although you will still be able to carry on a short conversation at this level of intensity. Brisk walking, light jogging, gardening, dancing and cycling are good moderate-intensity exercises.

Alternatively, you can aim for 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity at least three days per week. Vigorous intensity activity includes running, cycling, swimming or step aerobics. At a vigorous level of activity, you should be sweating and breathing heavily.

The most important thing, according to Long Island orthopedic specialists, is to get moving. Any amount of physical activity is better than none at all. Plus, your 30 minutes per day does not have to be in a massed block of time. Doing step aerobics for 10 minutes in the morning, walking briskly for 10 minutes at lunch and walking your dog in the evening all adds up to a full day of activity.

By making simple lifestyle choices such as increasing physical activity levels, you can decrease your risk of chronic disease and extend your lifespan.

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