How much you exercise reveals a surprising truth about your future health, new research says
(NaturalHealth365) It’s hard to argue with anyone who says exercise is good for your physical and mental health. In fact, we know regularly exercising reduces your risk of early death, protects you against chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease, and even alleviates depression as effectively as antidepressants in many cases – but, without all those unwanted side effects!
However, you may be surprised to know that how physically active you are may be more reliable for predicting your risk of early death compared to other factors known to affect human lifespan. In a newly published paper, researchers out of John Hopkins in Baltimore share their surprising and insightful news about mortality, exercise, and wearable tech.
Are you physically active enough? This data should not be ignored
The new study, which was published in August 2019 in The Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, looked at data from a well-known cohort of nearly 3,000 U.S. adults called National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was carried out in 2003-2004 and 2005–2006. The study’s researchers looked at over 30 predictors of 5-year all-cause mortality, including medical history, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and—you guessed it—physical activity levels.
After analyzing the data, the researchers determined that how much daily physical activity a person gets (as measured through activity trackers worn by participants for seven days) was 30% more accurate as a predictor of early death! In addition, physical activity levels were 40% more accurate than other predictive factors like cancer or stroke history.
Why is this research so important? Consider these two points:
- People “get” that smoking is bad for you, and this increased awareness seems to be positively influencing smoking rates. Just last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that fewer Americans are smoking than ever (even though roughly 38 million Americans still haven’t quit this life-threatening habit).
- However, research shows that fewer than 5% of adults get at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day!
It’s possible that not enough people just fully understand how important daily physical activity is for improving longevity and maximizing quality of life, which is why more research should be done to further clarify this data and help optimize public health awareness campaigns.
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Overall, this research supports a clear link between physical activity levels and the risk of premature death. The researchers also suggest their data “highlights the importance of wearable technology for providing reproducible, unbiased, and prognostic biomarkers of health.”
And unlike age or genetics, physical activity is a modifiable risk factor – you can do something about it!
How much exercise do you need? Here’s a rough guide + 5 tips for getting more active
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderately-intense aerobic exercise each week. That means exercising for about 30 minutes on most days at an intensity level where you can still talk but with a little more effort than usual.
Does this mean you have to dedicate 30+ minutes at the gym every day? Not necessarily!
Try these five tips to bump up your daily physical activity level and reduce your risk of an early death:
- Your exercise doesn’t have to come all at once. If it fits your schedule and preferences better, try getting in three bouts of 10 minute spurts of activity throughout the day.
- Take the stairs!
- Take your phone calls on the move – while walking or cycling on a recumbent bike, for example.
- Join a class or find a workout buddy – studies show this can help you workout with greater regularity and intensity.
- Get that activity tracker. The study mentioned in this article (and others) suggest that wearing an activity tracker such as a pedometer may motivate you to move more throughout the day.
Sources for this article include: