According to a recent study published in the PLOS Medicine journal, people who exercise live longer than non exercisers despite their weight or body mass index (BMI). The large scale study of nearly 650,000 study participants found that healthy weight people, or people with a body mass index (BMI) of between 20 and 25 who did not exercise regularly, were more likely to die sooner than overweight (35+ BMI) or obese people who get regular exercise.
Among the 431,479 study participants over the age of 40, the sedentary were almost twice as likely to die during the course of the study than were participants who were highly active.
The results also offer evidence that exercise can offset some of the longevity loss that comes with tobacco use or a history of cancer or heart disease. Among these groups, even getting a modest amount of exercise restored between 2.5 years and 5.3 years of lost life expectancy. Getting more exercise or exercising more vigorously adds even more years.
According to the study, as little as a 10-minute daily walk can add almost two years of life expectancy, regardless of body weight level. People who got the amount recommended by the World Health Organization, of 150 minutes of moderate level cardiovascular exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week added roughly 3.4 to 4.5 more years to their life.
The study concluded that even for the severely obese, exercising for about 2.5 hours per week at a moderate intensity puts average life expectancy a notch above that of a normal weight person who is sedentary.
A regular exerciser, who is not overweight, was associated with a gain of 7.2 more years of life.
According to the author of the study “this finding may convince currently inactive persons that a modest level of physical activity is ‘worth it’ for health benefits, even if it may not result in weight control.”
This study proves that in addition to burning calories, elevating mood, reducing your risks for certain diseases and all of the other many benefits of exercise, you will live longer. Since you’ll be exercising regularly, those will be active, happy, healthy years. What are you waiting for?
Kim Hartmann, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Centegra Health Bridge Fitness Centers
Bariatric Program Assistant
Centegra Weight-Loss Surgery Center
Source: “Leisure Time Physical Activity of Moderate to Vigorous Intensity and Mortality: A Large Pooled Cohort Analysis” study published in the PLOS Medicine Journal.