Add Years to Your Life!

Incorporating vigorous physical activity into your exercise regimen could significantly extend your lifespan, suggests research published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study analyzed data from over 403,000 adults, gathered through the National Health Interview Survey from 1997 to 2013, focusing on their self-reported exercise habits. Findings indicated that individuals who engaged in a greater proportion of vigorous activity within their overall workout routine had a lower risk of mortality from all causes, implying that intense exercise contributes to a longer life. Notably, 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week was identified as the optimal amount for health benefits.

However, Carol Mack, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., points out a few limitations to consider. The reliance on self-reported data may lead to inaccuracies, as participants could overestimate the intensity of their workouts without objective measures like heart rate monitoring. Additionally, the definition of “vigorous” activity was somewhat vague, described as any exercise causing significant sweating or increases in breathing or heart rate for at least 10 minutes.

Despite these limitations, Mack isn’t surprised by the findings, highlighting that vigorous exercise is known to offer substantial benefits over moderate activities. This includes improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, functional capacity, oxygen consumption, blood pressure, and body composition, all of which contribute to reduced chronic disease risk and potentially lower early mortality rates.

Mack emphasizes that while vigorous activity is beneficial, it doesn’t mean you should abandon moderate, steady-state cardio exercises like running. Instead, incorporating some high-intensity work into your routine could enhance overall health benefits. Vigorous exercise challenges the body’s cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems more intensely than moderate activity, making it a valuable component of a balanced fitness program.

If you want to incorporate some vigorous exercise into your life but are not sure what you want to do, try short sprint intervals. The usual recommendations for intervals is 20 seconds of sprinting or running as fast as you can. Then about 2-4 minutes of walking in-between sprints. Do this 3-5 times and that is a pretty good amount for most people. Of course, if you are wanting do something a little closer to the 10 minutes they described in the study, cycling or some other type of vigorous cardio like pushing a weighted sled also works great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *