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Increase Exercise to Reduce Your Risk of Dying from Chronic Disease by Up to 40%

Everyone knows that exercise is good for your health, but just how good is it? According to an extensive meta-analysis from the Centre for Sports Sciences and University Sports of the University of Vienna, upping your exercise could reduce your risk of dying from chronic disease by almost 40%.

The findings were published on September 5, 2011, in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The researchers examined data from 80 studies which included 1,338,143 participants and 118,121 deaths from Europe, Canada, the United States, and Asia. They discovered that any exercise reduces mortality risk, but more is almost always better.

Every additional hour of low intensity activity per week resulted in a 4% reduced risk of dying from any cause, compared to people who are sedentary.

As the intensity of exercise increases, however, so do the benefits. Slightly more vigorous exercise such as dancing, nordic walking, hiking, jogging, and bicycling resulted in a reduced risk of 6%. Upping the ante a little bit more to jogging, biking at least 10 mph, and playing active sports reduced the mortality risk by 9%.

The researchers also found that meeting the World Health Organization recommendations of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise reduced mortality risk by as high as 10% and that exercising for 300 minutes per week—twice the recommended amount of time—could reduce your risk of dying from chronic disease by 39%.

If you've been living a sedentary lifestyle and think it's finally time to utilize that dormant gym membership, start gradually: don't go from zero to 300 minutes in one week or you'll risk injuring yourself. Start with low intensity exercise such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and work your way up to a more vigorous workout.

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