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Turns Out, Doing This One Thing Could Help You Live Longer, Says a Doctor

A cardiovascular exercise physiologist says it's even more beneficial than losing weight.

Life longevity is a topic that's gained a lot of attention in recent years. Evidence has shown there are some wise ways to improve your chances of living longer—examples range from reducing your meat intake and eating more plants, to even drinking a beer a day, according to a 106-year-old Pennsylvania woman this week. But now, a renowned cardiovascular exercise physiologist suggests regularly engaging in one specific activity may help you live longer than wildly changing your diet will.

Siddhartha Angadi, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Virginia. Recently, Angadi and his colleague, Arizona State University professor of exercise physiology, Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., reviewed 200 past studies and concluded from their analysis that "a weight-centric approach to obesity treatment and prevention has been largely ineffective."

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Based on their analysis, the two doctors asserted that physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness have been demonstrated to be more effective than intentional weight loss at significantly reducing the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or any cause. (We have lots more on their groundbreaking study right here: Exercise—Not This Diet Change—May Help You Live Longer, New Study Suggests.)

When their study was published, Gaesser noted, "When someone becomes more physically active, that person's body weight may decrease but often does not change, and sometimes can even increase. This can be frustrating if the goal is weight loss. If you change the focus to physical activity as a way to be healthy, this may take that frustration away."

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Angadi, meanwhile, recently shared with a Virginia public radio station, WVTF, that the power of physical activity to ward off disease is what makes exercise more meaningful than dieting to help you live longer. As their study took data for insulin sensitivity, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, artery function, and the body's oxygen consumption, Angadi commented: "When you exercise and improve your cardiovascular fitness or if you just improve your physical activity, you observe considerable improvements in your health status, disease status and reductions in your risk of mortality."

These insights might make you feel encouraged to hear that it's getting your body moving, and not just the number on your scale, that could best support you to live happier and healthier… for longer.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more