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Better Cardiorespiratory Fitness May Lead to a Longer Life

Working out not only makes you feel good in the short term, it may also help you live longer. A recent study suggests that better cardiorespiratory fitness may lead to a longer life.


Participants in the study included 122,007 people who performed exercise treadmill testing between January 1, 1991, and December 31, 2014. All of the participants had previously undergone stress tests at Cleveland Clinic. They were broken up into five performance groups: elite, high, above average, below average, and low. Elite performers were defined as having aerobic fitness in the top 2.5% of their age and gender. They also had fitness levels similar to endurance athletes. Long-term survival was adjusted for a patient's age, sex, height, weight, BMI, medications, and comorbidities.


The researchers found that increased cardiorespiratory fitness was directly associated with reduced long-term mortality. They also found that there was no limit on the positive effects and that extreme aerobic fitness was associated with the greatest benefit. This was especially true in people who were age 70 and older — who had a 30% lower risk of mortality if they were in the elite group —and in those who had hypertension. In the younger age groups, there was no statistical difference in mortality rate between the elite and high performers.


Additionally, the researchers found that the risk associated with poor cardiorespiratory fitness was on par with or even exceeded the mortality rates of other risk factors, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and smoking.


Researchers from Cleveland Clinic Foundation conducted the study. It was published on October 19, 2018, in JAMA Network Open.

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