Everyone agrees that exercise is beneficial for your health, though not everyone actually participates in daily exercise. Muscle-strengthening exercise, in particular, can reduce the risk of premature death (British Journal of Sports Medicine, Feb. 28, 2022). What’s more, it doesn’t take a lot. Just 30 to 60 minutes a week of push-ups, sit-ups, weight lifting, using resistance bands, or even digging in the garden can be protective.
Studies of Daily Exercise and Longevity:
Those are the results of a meta-analysis of cohort studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The investigators analyzed data from 16 studies, with participants between the ages of 18 and 98 years old. Muscle-strengthening activity was linked to lower risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and mortality from any cause. Including aerobic activity in the analysis demonstrated that people who exercised more were less likely to die early. These vigorous individuals had less cardiovascular disease or cancer.
How Much Daily Exercise Will Protect You?
The meta-analysis found that people benefited from strength-building exercise for just an hour a week. Spreading it out over multiple sessions in the week works best. In previous research, as little as 15 minutes of daily exercise made a difference for longevity.
Many people feel as if they are either too busy or too stressed out to exercise every day. A frequent excuse is, “I don’t have time to put in 30 minutes to an hour working out at the gym every day.” Aside from the fact that exercise can help reduce stress, they don’t need an hour every day.
A decade ago, a study published in The Lancet tracked over 400,000 Taiwanese volunteers for roughly eight years (The Lancet, online Aug. 16, 2011). Those who exercised even moderately for a quarter of an hour daily lived three years longer than their inactive countrymen. The more people exercised, the better their chance of living longer. Moreover, half an hour of daily exercise improved life expectancy by an additional year. The bottom line seems to be that regular exercise, even just 15 minutes daily, can improve lifespan.