How Much Exercise Do You Need for a Longer Life?

by: Lisa Cain

Some people have no problem with exercise. They get up, run, walk, go to the gym, and move seemingly without effort.

And then there are the rest of us.

I have shared many times how my favorite position is when my butt is firmly planted on my couch, on a chair, or (if I am lucky) in a hammock. I can sit for hours at a time with a book – my only motion picking up and putting down my cup of coffee. Aaaah.

Researchers have been studying how much exercise we need to combat disease and give us longevity. Why? Well, our doctors need to make educated recommendations instead of saying something like, “you need to extract your rear from the couch every once in a while”.

There is no doubt that exercise increases longevity. A Harvard study that included over 600,000 people showed that those who did no exercise were at the greatest risk for an early death.

Ok, I am listening! I will get some exercise.

If you exercise for about 20 minutes per day, you get a 31% less chance of dying in a 14 year period. Woohoo!!! I believe I can find 2 ½ hours a week for exercise.

But, how can I live the longest? The NYT article states:
The sweet spot for exercise benefits, however, came among those who tripled the recommended level of exercise, working out moderately, mostly by walking, for 450 minutes per week, or a little more than an hour per day. Those people were 39 percent less likely to die prematurely than people who never exercised.
450 Minutes!! Do I look like I have an hour per day for exercise? Oh man.

If my doctor told me to exercise for an hour per day, I think I might punch her. Or maybe feel like punching her (sorry, Kate!).

I guess this is a bad news, good news situation. If you are already hitting an hour of moderate walking per day - you are in the best shape for longevity but most of us don't have that kind of time (bad news). The good news is that 20 minutes of exercise per day gives a significant increase in our longevity.

My conclusion is that I am glad I have a dog that gets me to walk in below zero weather (even if it is only for 20 super cold minutes).

How much exercise do you get? Do you worry about it?

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