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Not Exercising This Much Can Increase Your Risk of Mortality, Says Study

Put on your sneakers, and step up to the plate—your longevity depends on it.

Everyone knows that exercise is a major player when it comes to an overall healthy lifestyle. In fact, working out regularly can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and add so much goodness to your mind and body. Exercising a certain amount of time each week has been proven to actually extend your life. Just how much physical activity is necessary to help you hold off mortality? A recent study from the American Heart Association reveals that not exercising a certain amount can increase your risk of mortality, so read on to learn more, because this useful info can add years to your life. And next up, don't miss The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

By performing a mere 2½ to 5 hours of moderate physical activity each week, you'll lower your risk of mortality

man running to avoid increased risk of mortality

Recent research reveals that exercising can ward off mortality, so be inspired and get started. By performing moderately intense physical activity for a mere 2½ to 5 hours each week, you can lower your risk of mortality. Not too bad, right? That translates to a minimum of about 22 minutes every day at the low end of the spectrum, which is totally doable. Of course, as with most worthy things in life, the greater your physical activity, the longer you can live. Don't increase your risk of mortality—get up and active!

Related: What Science Says About the Exercise Habits That Slow Aging

Participants lowered their risk of mortality by as much as 19% to 21% from every potential cause—simply by being physically active

group doing strength training workout outside to avoid increased risk of mortality

Researchers reviewed medical records and activity data for over 100,000 adults from two studies. It included a Nurses' Health Study, consisting of all females, in addition to a Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which comprised of all males, covering 30 years from 1988 to 2018.

Each participant routinely performed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) recommended times and guidelines, which means vigorous physical activity for 75 to 150 minutes each week, or 150 to 300 minutes each week of moderate activity.

The study determined that participants lowered their risk of death by as much as 19% to 21% from every potential cause—simply by being physically active. What's more inspiring is those who were active at a rate of two to four times the recommended levels of exercise (150 to 600 minutes each week), decreased their mortality risk at an even higher rate from every feasible cause.

Related: Fitness Mistakes at 50 That Prevent You From Losing Weight, Says Trainer

The adults did not experience detrimental cardiovascular health consequences as a result of performing an increased activity level

mature man lifting weights in gym, slimming down after 60

According to Dong Hoon Lee, Sc.D., M.S., a research associate in the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, "The potential impact of physical activity on health is great, yet it remains unclear whether engaging in high levels of prolonged, vigorous or moderate intensity physical activity above the recommended levels provides any additional benefits or harmful effects on cardiovascular health." Lee adds, "Our study leveraged repeated measures of self-reported physical activity over decades to examine the association between long-term physical activity during middle and late adulthood and mortality."

The adults did not experience detrimental cardiovascular health consequences as a result of performing an increased activity level. Lee explains, "This finding may reduce the concerns around the potential harmful effect of engaging in high levels of physical activity observed in several previous studies," adding, "Our study provides evidence to guide individuals to choose the right amount and intensity of physical activity over their lifetime to maintain their overall health. Our findings support the current national physical activity guidelines and further suggest that the maximum benefits may be achieved by performing medium to high levels of either moderate or vigorous activity or a combination."

Here's how you can up your physical activity if you're not getting enough

mature woman doing beach yoga and keeping in shape after 40

Lee also explains that individuals who do vigorous activity for less than 75 minutes, or moderate activity for less than 150 minutes, can potentially lower their risk of death by being persistent with either 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 to 300 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week—or a combo—and stick it out for the long-term.

The conclusion revealed adults who participate in twice as much as the current recommended physical activity (at both moderate and vigorous levels) endured the lowest risk of death long-term. So if you don't want to increase your risk of mortality, lace up your sneakers, and start exercising! For more statistics on the analysis, see the full report on ScienceDaily.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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