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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid