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More exercise can be linked to a longer life.
A new 12-page research article published in the Circulation Journal of the American Heart Association found that people who did extra exercise had a lower death rate than those who didn’t.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Harvard TH 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 exercise reports were submitted describing their “leisure physical activity.”
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Reduction in mortality was observed in study participants who received 150 to 300 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week and 300 to 600 minutes of moderate physical activity.
Vigorous athletes who participated in activities such as jogging, running, stair climbing, swimming, cycling, aerobics, exercising 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 a lower cardiovascular death rate between 27% and 33% and a lower non-cardiovascular death rate of 19%. People who exercised more than 300 minutes per week “had no further lower mortality,” the study said.
In contrast, moderate exercisers who participated for 150 to 299 minutes in activities such as walking, weightlifting with lower-intensity workouts, and calisthenics had a lower mortality rate between 20% and 21% for all causes of death.
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In terms of cardiovascular death, moderate athletes had a 22% to 25% lower chance, and for non-cardiovascular death, moderate athletes 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 the observation.
“The near maximal association with lower mortality was achieved by performing 150 to 300 min/wk of prolonged leisure time. [vigorous physical activity]300 to 600 min/wk of extended leisure time [moderate physical activity]or an equivalent combination of both,” the team wrote in the study’s conclusion.
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However, the study participants came from surveys collected by the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which may have produced biased results.
Most of the study participants were in their 60s, had a normal BMI, rarely ate more than 2,000 calories a day, drank alcohol occasionally, and barely smoked.
There was also a lack of racial diversity, with over 90% of the study participants being white.
The United States Department of Health recommends 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity per week and 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity per week.
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Health benefits can also be seen with a mix of vigorous and moderate activity during the week, the department says.