Research Suggests that Regular Exercise Might Help You Live Longer

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Every physician would be remiss if they did not mention that exercise will help you live a healthier life. But could exercise help you actually live longer? One study from Germany strived to find the answer and by one measure, people who worked out could live almost seven years longer than those who did not.

Anne Reimers and her colleagues analyzed studies pertaining to physical exercise and life expectancy. Say the study authors, "Results of 13 studies describing eight different cohorts suggest that regular physical activity is associated with an increase of life expectancy by 0.4 to 6.9 years. Eleven studies included confounding risk factors for mortality and revealed an increase in life expectancy by 0.4 to 4.2 years with regular physical activity."

Researchers also say that endurance workouts, like running, are better for prolonging your life than anaerobic workouts, like power lifting.

Interestingly, researchers found that people who exercised regularly in their free time tended to see greater benefits than professional athletes who needed to exercise for work. A theory to explain that correlation is that people who exercise in their leisure time tend to embrace healthier lifestyles in general, by abstaining from cigarettes and choosing to eat healthier foods – all positive behavioral patterns that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocates adopting.

It probably helps that exercise helps keep away many cardiovascular, respiratory, and cerebrovascular issues. According to the article, illnesses that arise from those issues account for the top-three killers of people in Germany. Almost 72 percent of deaths in the United States can be attributed to cardiovascular issues, heart disease, cerebrovascular issues, and various respiratory diseases.

But it is important not to go overboard. Benefits will probably not extend infinitely for every extra hour committed to the gym. The study authors say, "In conclusion, while regular physical activity increases life expectancy, it remains unclear if high-intensity sports activities further increase life expectancy."

The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Aging Research.

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