Study Reveals the Best Exercise to Extend Your Life

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.02 - 2024 10:20 AM CET

This exercise could reduce the risk of premature death by nearly 20%.

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A comprehensive meta-analysis involving nearly 21 million people has led researchers to a compelling conclusion.

Avoid smoking, ensure you get enough sleep, and exercise for at least 30 minutes daily. We all know the classic advice if we want to keep diseases and ailments at bay and live as long as possible.

While even minimal activity in everyday life is better than none, research indicates one specific type of exercise is especially critical for reducing the risk of premature death.

21 Million People Examined

The insights come from a major meta-analysis conducted by researchers at the University of South Australia. They analyzed 199 studies involving nearly 21 million adults to draw these conclusions.

Based on these results, they now issue a clear and distinct message to us all.

The major takeaway from the data set was that you can apparently reduce your risk of dying early by up to 17% by engaging in regular cardiovascular training and improving your so-called cardiorespiratory fitness.

The latter is a term for the body's ability to transport and utilize oxygen and use the large muscle groups for extended periods.

The benefits appeared to be even greater in terms of reducing heart disease risks, which could drop by up to 18%.

A Vital Health Strategy

Cardiovascular training involves exercises that activate the heart, blood, and lungs, improving the body’s oxygen absorption and the heart’s efficiency in circulating blood more robustly with each beat.

This type of exercise is particularly may be the most important if you want to ensure good health and a long life, according to Professor Grant Tomkinson, the senior author of the study.

"The principle is straightforward: Regular 'huff and puff' exercises significantly lessen your risk of premature death or future illnesses. Neglecting physical activity can detrimentally impact your health," he explains in a press release.

Professor Tomkinson recommends sustained activities like running, cycling, and swimming asgood examples of cardiovascular training.

But less can also suffice, as long as you reach a certain number of minutes each week.

Study lead author Justin Lang clarifies in the press release:

Justin Lang, the study's lead author, adds in the press release, "Individuals can achieve substantial health benefits from additional moderate physical activities, like brisk walking, totaling at least 150 minutes weekly. As their fitness level improves, their risk of death and disease correspondingly decreases."

The findings have been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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