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Getting more exercise could be linked to a longer life.
A new 12-page research article published in the American Heart Association’s Circulation Journal found that people who got extra exercise had a lower mortality rate compared to those who did not.
The study, which was conducted by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, was published on Monday, July 25.
Over a 30-year period from 1988 to 2018, a total of 116,221 adults were monitored and submitted exercise reports that detailed their “leisure-time physical activity.”
Mortality reduction was observed in study participants who got 150 to 300 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week and 300 to 600 minutes of moderate physical activity.
Vigorous exercisers who participated in activities like jogging, running, climbing stairs, swimming, bicycling, aerobics, playing sports and working outdoors for 150 to 299 minutes, had a lower mortality rate between 21% and 23% for all causes of death.
This exercise group also had lower cardiovascular deaths between 27% and 33% and lower non-cardiovascular deaths by 19%. People who exercised vigorously for more than 300 minutes per week “did not have further lower mortality,” according to the study.
Moderate exercisers, on the other hand, who participated in activities like walking, weightlifting performing lower-intensity workouts and calisthenics for 150 to 299 minutes, had a lower mortality rate between 20% and 21% for all causes of death.
In terms of cardiovascular deaths, moderate exercisers had a 22% to 25% lower chance, and for non-cardiovascular deaths, moderate exercisers had a 19% to 20% lower chance.
People who exercised moderately for 300 to 599 minutes per week had “3% to 13% further lower mortality,” according to the study.
Researchers behind the study documented 47,596 deaths during its observation.
“The nearly maximum association with lower mortality was achieved by performing ≈150 to 300 min/wk of long-term leisure-time [vigorous physical activity], 300 to 600 min/wk of long-term leisure-time [moderate physical activity], or an equivalent combination of both,” the team wrote in the study’s conclusion.
However, the study’s participants were pulled from surveys collected by the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which may have skewed results.
Most of the study participants were in their 60s, had a normal BMI, rarely ate more than 2,000 calories per day, drank alcohol occasionally and hardly smoked.
There was a lack of racial diversity as well with more than 90% of study participants being White.
The U.S. Department of Health recommends 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity per week and 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity per week.
Health benefits can also be seen with a mix of vigorous and moderate activities throughout the week, the department says.