Get moving, says a 20-year study conducted with nearly 15,000 residents of the United Kingdom age 40 to 79.
The research was conducted by the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, and the results were published in The British Medical Journal.
Considerable’s recent article entitled “This small lifestyle change can add years to your life” explains that the subjects who kept or increased to a medium level of activity were 28% less likely to die than those who stayed at a low level of activity.
The researchers split the sample into three groups who engaged in low, medium, and high levels of activity. They monitored changes to their activity for about eight years. Then they looked at the health effects over the next 12½ years.
The researchers found that those who stayed or increased their level of activity from low to medium were 28% less likely to die during that second phase than those who kept a low level of activity.
Moreover, those subjects who’d been moderately active but raised their activity level achieved a significant 42% increase in survival, compared to the low-activity subjects.
This impact was present even for those respondents who ate an unhealthy diet or had experienced a health condition, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or obesity.
So, the big question is just how much activity is required?
The study defined the activity levels according to the following guidelines:
- Low: Less than the guideline of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity
- Medium: achieving the guideline of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week; and
- High: The guideline of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly activity.
The high level also allowed for an equivalent, like 75 weekly minutes of high-intensity activity, or 60 minutes of high-intensity activity and 30 minutes of medium-intensity activity per week.
The researchers think that their study will motivate more people to take it up a notch, regardless of their age.
“These results are encouraging, not least for middle aged and older adults with existing cardiovascular disease and cancer, who can still gain substantial longevity benefits by becoming more active, lending further support to the broad public health benefits of physical activity,” the authors commented.
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Reference: Considerable (Sep. 22, 2020) “This small lifestyle change can add years to your life”
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