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Your Next Step: Vigorous Exercise

Rosanne Ullman | July 13, 2015 | 7:17 AM
Photo By mikkelwilliam for Getty Images

Two new studies reported in The New York Times indicate that living longer is associated with perhaps more exercise than we think. The combined findings of the two studies are leading to some conclusions:

  1. As we’ve been told, any exercise is better than no exercise if you’re aiming for a long life.
  2. For the best chance at more years of life, you have to go beyond the often-used benchmark of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Working out additional hours—at least one hour a day—lengthened the study participants’ average life span, as did exercising at a higher intensity, such as running instead of walking.
  3. Eventually, the benefits of exercise plateau. “Over-exercising”—working out as much as 20 hours a week—does not significantly lengthen life. However, it also doesn’t seem to hurt you; participants who exercised at that level lived among the longest.

Based on these new studies, the recommendation seems to be that if you’re working out 150 minutes a week, 30-40 minutes of that should be vigorous exercise. If you’re unable to perform vigorous exercise, keep up your moderate pace for at least one hour each day. 

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