- Hardly a surprise: people who did not exercise carried the highest risk of early death.
- People who exercised just a little – even well short of the recommended 150 minutes per week – reduced their risk of early death by 20%.
- People who hit that recommended guideline exactly were 31% less likely to die early than those who didn’t exercise.
- People who tripled the recommended guideline (3 x 150) – logging about 450 minutes of moderate exercise each week – showed the best results of all, reducing their risk of early death by 39%.
- The super-exercisers – people who went at it for 25 or more hours each week – experienced early death rates similar to those who simply met the 150-minutes-each-week guideline. “More” wasn’t necessarily “better,” but “more” didn’t hurt, either… contrary to much of the conventional wisdom out there.
- People who met the exercise guideline reduced their early death risk significantly, even if the exercise was only moderate, like walking.
- People who spent up to 30% of their weekly exercise regimen in “vigorous” activities showed a premature death risk that was 9% lower than those who exercised for the same amount of time, but always “moderately.”
- People who spent more than 30% of their regimens in “strenuous” activities had an early death risk that was 13% lower than those “merely moderate” exercisers.
- People who exercised “intensely” showed no increased early death risk.
Leisure Time Physical Activity and Mortality (first study above):
Meeting the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans minimum by either moderate- or vigorous-intensity activities was associated with nearly the maximum longevity benefit. We observed a benefit threshold at approximately 3 to 5 times the recommended leisure time physical activity minimum and no excess risk at 10 or more times the minimum. In regard to mortality, health care professionals should encourage inactive adults to perform leisure time physical activity and do not need to discourage adults who already participate in high-activity levels.
Effect of Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity on All-Cause Mortality in Middle-aged and Older Australians (second study):
Among people reporting any activity, there was an inverse dose-response relationship between proportion of vigorous activity and mortality. Our findings suggest that vigorous activities should be endorsed in clinical and public health activity guidelines to maximize the population benefits of physical activity.