News / Health

Routine Exercise Found to Extend Life Almost Five Years

Jessica Berman
People who engage in regular leisure-time physical activities, such as walking, biking or swimming, can live years longer than those who don’t do any leisure-time exercise, according to a large survey of adults.

The study of more than 650,000 adults found that those who engaged in routine leisure time physical activity, even if they were overweight or obese, lived as many as 4 1/2 years longer, on average, than those who did no exercise.

The finding by researchers with the U.S. National Cancer Institute, or NCI, was based on data from six population-based studies of people between the ages of 40 and 90, designed to identify various cancer-risk factors.
 
Steven Moore, with NCI’s division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and the study’s lead author, says there are several ways that regular exercise can extend a person’s lifespan.

“It reduces your risk of heart disease.  It reduces risk of hypertension [high blood pressure], of hyperlipidemia [high blood cholesterol]; it has a number of benefits in terms of lung function," he said. "So, I think it has a very broad effect on different measures and indexes of health.  And that comes out when you look at life expectancy.”

The U.S. government recommends that adults aged 18 to 64 get either 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity or 1 1/4 hours of vigorous-intensity exercise each week.   That might range from leisurely walking to vigorous running or bike-riding, for example.
 
Researchers found that in general, people who got the recommended amount of exercise lived an average of 3.4 years longer, and life expectancy was extended by 4.2 years for those who engaged in twice the recommended amount of leisure activity.

Moore says investigators found even a moderate level of exercise, equivalent to 10 minutes of walking per day, was associated with a gain of about two years of life expectancy.

“To get the full benefit, you would have to do the equivalent of about 45 or more minutes a day of walking.  And that was associated in our study with a gain of about four to 4 1/2 years of life expectanc,” Moore said.

But Moore says there was no significant increase in life expectancy among those who did more than 45 minutes of daily exercise.

An article on leisure time physical activity and life expectancy is published in the journal PLoS Medicine.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More