Leisure-Time Physical Activity = Longer Life

Leisure-Time Physical Activity = Longer Life

Regular physical activity can give us to up to 4.5 years of extra life, according to a new study by the National Cancer Institute in the US.

How we fill our off-work hours can definitely make a difference to our life expectancy, according to a recent study led by researchers at the United States’ National Cancer Institute.

Physical activity = good health

We know that regular physical activity is essential to good health. We also know that it helps prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. And it helps make our bones stronger, gives us energy, and decreases stress. Some studies suggest that it can even help increase sexual satisfaction for both men and women.

So it makes some sense that life expectancy is increased for those who engage in regular physical activity. But the new study, published in the PLoS Medicine journal, has added some hard numbers: they quantified the number of years gained according to the amount of time spent on moderate to vigorous aerobic activity.

Physical activity = up to 4.2 extra years

In the cross-country study, researchers examined data on more than 650,000 adults, most of them 40 and older. They found that adults who engaged in regular aerobic activity for the recommended 2.5 hours per week at moderate intensity (or 1.25 hours at vigorous intensity) increased their life expectancy by 3.4 years.

They also found that people who engaged in leisure-time physical activity twice as often as recommended gained 4.2 years of extra life. And they found that those who reported getting only half the recommended amount of physical activity still added 1.8 years of extra life.

Ways to improve your life expectancy

Keeping active is only achievable if you’re doing something that you enjoy. Here are some ideas from the pages of alive that might spark new interest in your exercise routine.

  • tai chi
  • walking
  • strength training
  • no-gear workout
  • skipping
  • cardio kickboxing
  • salsa
  • boot camp
  • weighted hula hoops
  • kettlebell training


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