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Workout at Home Let the gym come to you!
Posted on: Monday, November 12th, 2012
Good news for those of you who are physically active! If you exercise on a regular basis you are more likely to live longer than people who are physically inactive. This remains true even if you are overweight as shown by research published in PLoS Medicine this week by the Public Library of Science.
The research team in Sweden and the USA led by Steven Moore from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland pooled the results of 6 studies regarding exercise and Body Mass Index (BMI) which is a ratio of weight to height. Most of the 654,827 subjects were white, over the age of 40 and the median time that they were monitored for was 10 years.
The results were extremely encouraging. Simply walking for just 75 minutes per week was correlated with increased longevity of 1.8 years compared with people who didn’t exercise. This is the equivalent of exercising for just over 10 minutes a day and that is all. Of course the more you do the longer you’ll live and the study showed that this life expectancy increased to up to 4.5 years if people did 150 minutes of brisk walking or more a week. It is worth noting that this is the minimum amount of leisure-time physical activity that is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Exercising above the recommended levels seems to be linked with an even higher life expectancy though longevity plateaus at about 300 minutes per week of brisk walking.
The positive association between increased physical activity and a higher life expectancy held irrespective of gender, race and the educational level of the subjects whatever their BMI. However, it is best to maintain a healthy weight as well as to exercise regularly. Those subjects who were active with a normal BMI lived 7.2 years longer on average that those who were inactive and obese (i.e. a BMI of 35 or above). Even though the researchers found that obesity did contribute to a lowering of life expectancy, the amazing results showed that the obese people who were physically active still lived 3.1 years longer on average than people with a normal BMI who did not exercise.
Consequently, we can deduce that maintaining a healthy weight is best for general well-being, but exercise is still enormously beneficial even for people whose BMI is too high.
The researchers concluded that overall the less exercise a person has the shorter their life will be. This is true for a range of physical activity levels and irrespective of weight. Furthermore, even low level exercise seems to contribute to a longer and healthier life. Hopefully this will convince people that exercising is beneficial in its own right and not just to lose weight or for people who already have a BMI within the normal range. Exercising is always worth it and anyone of any age or weight can benefit.
The challenge is not simply to convince people that physical activity is an in important factor influencing life expectancy, but to help them with motivation to exercise. Look no further than your personal trainer! By spending a fraction of your leisure time in personal training rather than in front of your TV or computer you are making a huge investment in your health as well as increasing your lifespan. It has to be worth it.