Exercise Can Increase Life Expectancy by Years, No Matter Your Weight

Exercise Can Increase Life Expectancy by Years, No Matter Your Weight
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exerciseWith so many diseases caused by our lifestyle choices, it seems a no brainer that you can live longer if you make healthy choices. But recent research shows just how true this is—confirming that regular exercise can increase your life expectancy, no matter how much you weigh.

The research, published in the November edition of the Public Library of Science (PLOS) Medicine journal, found that even obese patients can increase their time on earth by including exercise in their daily habits.

On average, obese people can increase their life by 2.7 to 3.4 years by including 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, when compared with inactive obese people. So, we can weigh the same amount and look the same, but if I am active (getting 150 minutes of exercise a week), I will likely live a few years more than you.

The same holds true for those who are overweight and those who are of a healthy weight.

Of those who are overweight, but not obese, the same 150 minutes of exercise increased their lives by an average of 3.9 years when compared with overweight and sedentary people. Normal-weight participants lived an average of 4.7 years longer than their inactive counterparts.

While many people start an exercise regimen to help them lose weight, this and additional research prove it’s needed regardless of your weight goals. Even if you already have the body of your dreams, exercise is a crucial habit to cultivate.

Even minimal exercise is better than none at all. Researchers found that those who did 75 minutes of moderate exercise saw increased life spans of about 1.8 years. Of course, the more you work out the longer you live, with the greatest gains being seen by people who got about 450 minutes of moderate activity per week; they saw 4.5 years tacked on to their lives. Similar research found that regular jogging can extend life by up to 6 years.

The research looked at 640,000 men and women in six prior studies, using a follow-up period of a decade.

While the study did have some limitations, including the fact that the findings were based on self-reporting, it does offer some good insight into how exercise affects our total health.

“The authors have provided us with a very convincing argument that exercise is about the only equivalent of a fountain of youth that exists today,” said Stuart Olshansky of the University of Illinois.

And similar to how exercising can extend life, sitting can easily shed years off your life. According to the research from the American College of Cardiology sitting for long periods of time may be just as deadly as smoking cigarettes. The researchers found that those who sit for longer than 6 hours per day were 37% more likely to die from any given cause than those who sat for less than 3.

Additional Sources:

Los Angeles Times