Americans are often wondering what they should do to live a healthier and longer life. A new study focused on this question and came up with a simple answer.

Fox news reports on the new research.

According to new reports, exercising is one of the best ways to help yourself live a longer and healthier life. How strenuous does the exercise have to be?

The researchers say that even if the activity is slight, it can still be extremely helpful.

Throughout numerous years of follow-up researchers found that people who did less than the minimum recommended amount of physical activity still had a considerable decrease in threat of death compared to people who had no activity at all. This analysis was a compilation of six studies.

Hannah Arem, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, led the study. She commented on her findings tell Fox,

“Our findings support the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week for substantial health benefit, and suggest additional benefit with more than double the exercise minimum.”

How was the study conducted?

The experts comprised information on more than 660,000 men and women in the United States and Europe from previous studies. Fifty percent of the studies had tracked participants for almost fifteen years. Their findings showed that 116,686 deaths were recorded.

The experts found that based on self-reports of physical activity, people who did less exercise than the recommended minimum of activity were still around 20 percent less likely to perish during the studies than people who had no activity at all.

The findings were rather interesting.

“Mortality risk was 31 percent lower for people who did one to two times the recommended minimum, and 37 percent lower for those who did two to three times the recommended minimum activity. Mortality risk seemed to level off at three to five times the recommended minimum amount of exercise, which is equivalent to a weekly minimum of walking 7 hours or running 2 hours 15 minutes, Arem told Reuters Health by email,” according to Fox.

However, there was no evidence found showing that doing even 10 times the minimum recommended amount of exercise would do any harm, the authors said in JAMA Internal Medicine. The findings were similar whether the research team analyzed deaths from any cause, or deaths particularly from heart disease or cancer.

These new results mainly reinforce current guidelines, which already state that some activity is better than no activity, and seems like a common sense ideal to live by if one wants to lead a healthy life.

The study’s author further explained how she conducted the study,

“While we adjusted for known mortality risk factors like body mass index and smoking, we were not able to adjust for diet in this study as we did not have information available in all cohorts. However, in previous analyses in these cohorts where information on diet was available, the associations between physical activity and mortality persisted even after they were adjusted for diet.”

What kind of exercise would be helpful?

The researchers say that even just one hour of brisk walking or 30 minutes of jogging or biking per week is enough to move into that first category and out of the completely inactive group. Doing extra did not seem to decrease mortality threat much further, but may have numerous other health advantages beyond simply decreasing the threat of death.

Gerry Oginski
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