In case I haven’t mentioned it enough, let’s go over this one more time, until it really sinks in: Exercise will help you live longer.
And once again, research proves it. The recent Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study followed thousands of adults, to see how much of a difference meeting the minimum recommendations for physical activity can make to mortality risk.
The answer? A very big difference. And it really doesn’t take much, either.
We’re talking about 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. (Only 20 minutes, three days a week, if you’re working out hard.) This study even counted mundane tasks, like housework, commuting, and job-related tasks under the heading of “physical activity.” (In other words, no gym membership required.)
This should be easy enough, but the fact is that most people don’t come close to meeting these minimums. And this aversion to exercise isn’t just a U.S. trend. Even outside of the states, a third of adults fall short of the recommendations.
But hopefully that’s about to change. Because one look at the results of this study could convince anyone anywhere to get up and get moving.
Researchers collected data from nearly 150,000 people worldwide, and divided them into three different groups. “Inactive” subjects fell short of the guidelines. “Moderate” activity subjects met the guidelines. And “high” activity subjects went above and beyond minimum recommendations.
But here’s where it gets good: Researchers then analyzed how these activity levels influenced death and disease.
They tracked risk of all-cause mortality, heart disease death, non-heart disease death, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and severe heart disease (essentially, a mix of all of the above). And they adjusted for factors that could skew results — including age, gender, education levels, income levels, urban vs. rural residence, family and personal heart disease history, and smoking habits.
After five years, subjects who met the minimum recommendations for exercise fared dramatically better than those who didn’t. Researchers noted a 28 percent lower risk of death from any cause. And a 36 percent lower risk of heart disease.
And those subjects who clocked more than the minimum? They were even better off — with a 40 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality, and half the risk of heart disease.
These numbers were no fluke, either. Similar benefits turned up across the board. Moderate to high activity levels slashed the risk of heart attack anywhere from 29 to 42 percent — and the risk of heart failure between 20 and 40 percent.
And the outcome was universal, remaining consistent regardless of income level, age, gender — even smoking, diabetes diagnosis, high blood pressure, or existing heart disease.
In other words, there’s no one who doesn’t benefit from exercise.
No matter who you are, where you’re from, where you’ve been, and what else you do… staying active can cut your risk of death nearly in half.
So you can see why I keep bringing it up.
As I’ve mentioned here before, exercise alone is no panacea. But a half hour of moderately brisk walking most days is something almost anyone can manage… and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny. All you have to do is step away from the computer. And keep stepping right out the door.