Add more years to your life – a free mantra – be physically active

A new study reinforce the public health message that both a physically active lifestyle and a normal body weight are important for increasing longevity. The challenge is getting people to act on the knowledge that physical activity is important for health.

In this study, researchers have quantified how many years of life are gained by being physically active at different levels, among all individuals as well as among various groups with different body mass index (BMI).

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) collaborated with the National Cancer Institute for the study.

“We found that adding low amounts of physical activity to one’s daily routine, such as 75 minutes of brisk walking per week, was associated with increased longevity: a gain of 1.8 years of life expectancy after age 40, compared with doing no such activity,” explained I-Min Lee, MD, associate epidemiologist in the Department of Preventive Medicine at BWH and senior author on this study.

“Physical activity above this minimal level was associated with additional gains in longevity. For example, walking briskly for at least 450 minutes a week was associated with a gain of 4.5 years. Further, physical activity was associated with greater longevity among persons in all BMI groups: those normal weight, overweight, and obese,” Lee added.

The latest study adds to mounting evidence that a sedentary lifestyle may trump obesity as a corrosive influence on health. In recent years, researchers have found that exercise, even when not accompanied by weight loss, powerfully affects a range of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Enjoy your long and healthy life being more physically active.

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Dr. Anil Singhal MD (Homeo)