More exercise, longer life?
Aug. 18, 2022—If you exercise regularly, congrats! Getting in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week can lower your risk of dying early.
But if you move even more, you might wonder: Does going the extra mile really help your health? Good news: According to a recent study published in Circulation, getting extra exercise may help your chances of living longer even more.
By the numbers
Researchers looked at data on more than 100,000 adults from two past studies. They tracked the people for about 30 years.
Some participants reported doing the recommended amount of exercise for adults. That had significant benefits. Compared to people who weren't active:
- People who got at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week had a 21% lower risk of dying early from any cause.
- Those who managed 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week were 19% less likely to die during the study.
The researchers also looked at the risk of dying just from heart and blood vessel problems. Compared to those who did not exercise:
- Those who did just 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week were 22% to 25% less likely to die from cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
- People who did 75 minutes of vigorous exercise were 31% less likely to die from CVD.
Extra exercise, extra benefits
Some participants regularly exercised two to four times the recommended amount. And that extra exercise made a big difference in outcomes. Compared to those who did not exercise:
- People who did 300 to 600 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week cut their risk of dying early from any cause by as much as 31%.
- Getting 150 to 300 minutes of vigorous exercise each week cut the risk of death by up to 23%.
- The risk of death from CVD was up to 38% lower for people who got 300 to 600 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly.
- People who achieved 150 to 300 minutes of vigorous exercise had a 27% to 33% lower risk of dying from CVD.
Researchers did not find any extra benefit or harm to exercising more than 300 minutes to 600 minutes per week.
A smart start
When it comes to the benefits of exercise, getting moving is the best thing you can do. But this much exercise might not be for everyone.
If you haven't been active in a while (or you want to increase your exercise amount or intensity) you can check in with your doctor to make sure your goals are safe. That's a must if you have a health problem, like heart disease, urges the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Once your doctor gives you the OK:
- Go slowly. You might start with 10-minute walks and then build up.
- Spread it out. Be active on different days each week.
Stay on target
Any exercise you can do is better than none. But knowing your target heart rate can help you tell if your workouts are intense enough to meet your goals. Here's how to calculate yours.