To increase our chances for a long life, we probably should take at least 7,000 steps a day or play sports such as tennis, cycling, swimming, jogging or badminton for more than 2.5 hours per week, according to two, large-scale new studies of the relationship between physical activity and longevity. The two studies, which, together, followed more than 10,000 men and women for decades, show that the right types and amounts of physical activity reduce the risk of premature death by as much as 70 percent.
By Gretchen Reynolds
Plenty of research already suggests that people who are active outlive those who seldom move. A 2018 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for instance, concluded that about 10 percent of all deaths among Americans 40 to 70 years old are a result of too little exercise. A 2019 European study found that two decades of inactivity doubled Norwegian people’s risk of dying young.
- Both studies pinpoint the sweet spot for activity and longevity at somewhere around 7,000 to 8,000 daily steps or about 30 to 45 minutes of exercise most days. Doing more may marginally improve your odds of a long life, Dr. O’Keefe said, but not by much, and doing far more might, at some point, be counterproductive.
- Accumulate and measure your activities “in whatever way works for you,” said Dr. Paluch. “Step counting may work well for someone who does not have the time to fit in a longer bout of exercise. But if a single bout of exercise fits best with your lifestyle and motivations, that is great as well. The idea is just to move more.”
~ excerpted from the New York Times Article September 15, 2021