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Adults Who Meet Physical Activity Recommendations May Have Reduced Risk of Premature Death

Meeting Physical Activity Recommendations Shown to Help Improve Lifespan

The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75-100 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. A new 30-year study has found that adults who meet these physical activity recommendations may have up to a 21% reduced risk of mortality from all causes.

Participants in the study included 116,221 adults who took part in the all-female Nurses’ Health Study and the all-male Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1988-2018. They filled out questionnaires every two years to self-report leisure-time physical activity. All deaths during the study period were recorded.

Participants who performed 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly had a 21% lower risk of mortality from all causes compared to those who did not exercise. Participants who performed 75-100 minutes of vigorous physical activity weekly had a 19% lower risk of mortality from all causes compared to those who did not exercise.

In addition, participants who met the recommendations for moderate physical activity weekly had a 22-25% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 19-20% lower risk of non-cardiovascular disease-related mortality. Those who met the recommendations for vigorous physical activity weekly had a 31% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 15% lower risk of non-cardiovascular disease-related mortality.

Participants who performed 2 to 4 times more than the recommended amount of moderate physical activity had a 26-31% reduced risk of death from all causes. Those who performed 2 to 4 times more than the recommended amount of vigorous physical activity had a 21-23% reduced risk of death from all causes.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Universidade Federal de São Paulo.  It was published online ahead of print on July 25, 2022 in the journal Circulation.

Staying physically active was found to help preserve muscle mass and function in a previous study.

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