REHAB IN MOTION: Exercise really can extend your life

By Ben Chatterson


We all know exercise is good for us, right?

This has been an accepted fact for a long time. Over 100 studies have looked at the relationship between exercise and our risk of dying. Most of these studies showed the risk of dying at any age was almost 30 per cent less among people who were physically active versus those who weren’t. A question which none of these studies answered however, was how much of a difference can exercising regularly make to your lifespan? Well, according to a new study quite a lot.

The information from this study was gained from six other studies involving almost 650,000 people over the age of 40 in the United States and Sweden. The researchers used the data from these studies to estimate the gain in life expectancy associated with specific levels of physical activity.

So what did they find?

They found that on average, people who exercised regularly had a greater life expectancy than those who did not, even when they were overweight. Brisk walking for 75 minutes per week, or just under 15 minutes per day, was associated with almost a two year increase in life expectancy.

Being active for 150 minutes per week (just over 20 minutes per day) was associated with an increase in life expectancy of 3.5-4.5 years. Furthermore, the study found that being active and a normal weight resulted in a gain of over seven years of life compared to being inactive and overweight.

If you are not overweight, exercise can still help extend your lifespan. The study found that people who were normal weight, but inactive lived three years less than active people who were also normal weight.

So what does this mean for you?

It means it is never too late to start an exercise program. Even if you are not in the best shape of your life exercise can still help you to live longer. It will still help even if you don’t lose any weight! The findings also suggest that exercising at more than the recommended levels may increase your lifespan even further, and that a lack of physical activity may markedly reduce life expectancy when combined with being overweight.

So there you go, the proof is out. Go for a bike ride, go for a swim, or out for a walk. Go to the gym, join a sports league or a club. It really doesn’t matter how you get your physical activity. Whatever exercise you decide to do, enjoy it for the entire seven extra years.

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