Exercise can prolong life

The following article on 'Exercise Can Prolong Life' was written for Matt Swaz Fitness by Elise Kramer. Thank you to Elise and to Fitness Watch MD.

Exercise Can Prolong Life, Studies Say

A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine indicates that adults who get 150 minutes or more of physical activity weekly are likely to live several years longer through weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight than those who don't. The study indicated that men, who at age 20 engaged in moderate activity were likely to gain as much as 2.4 years of life as a result, and women of the same age who engaged in the same amount of activity gained about three additional years to their life. Researchers are hoping that this information will encourage people to get moving and get in shape.

Studies could help increase activity

The study was led by author Ian Janssen, Ph.D., at Queen's University in Ontario. Janssen and his team looked at data collected from a number of different sources including a number of studies done on age and relative mortality and compared life expectancy and mortality rates at different ages of adults in three categories: active, inactive, and somewhat active. The "active" category was defined as any adult who participated in 150 minutes or more of moderate physical activity each week.

Researchers hope that the relatively simple message of this study will get across to as many people as possible--and illustrate the very real consequences of inactivity, which can shave years off of a person's life.

The study could also incentivize physical activity because of the small amount of change needed to make a significant difference. 150 minutes of moderate physical activity is not very much--it boils down to just over 20 minutes a day, which could be a brisk walk around the neighborhood or a short bike ride to the store. Prolonging life for several years with such a minimal daily effort is appealing to many people, especially those who have a busy lifestyle. To find other studies that highlight the benefits of weight loss, you can visit Fitness Watch MD.

Carrot or stick

Presenting the evidence as years of life that patients stand to gain if they participate in regular exercise might be more effective than presenting it as years of life that patients may lose if they do not. This is the classic issue of "carrot or the stick", as people may be more likely to prefer to feel that they are being "rewarded" for participating in exercise and other healthful activities rather than being penalized for not doing so. It is not clear whether or not this method of framing research might be more effective, but if so, this study could be an important one for helping people across America make healthy choices that could help them live longer. Thank you to Elise Kramer and to Fitness Watch MD.

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