How to Add 1.8 Years (or More) to Your Life

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As a member of Healthy Fit for Women, we’re guessing you’re probably already well aware of the many benefits of physical activity — one of those being the chance to live a longer, healthier life.

Now, researchers from from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, are saying they have a better of idea, of just how many years of life are gained by being physically active at different levels, among ALL individuals, age, sex, and even body mass index (BMI.) 

After analyzing data from more than 650,000 subjects and following subjects for an average of ten years —plus, analyzing over 82,000 deaths —researchers found:

  • That physical activity was associated with longer life expectancies across a range of activity levels and BMI groups.
  • Those who engaged in leisure time physical activity (moderate to vigorous intensity) such as 75 minutes of brisk walking per week, had a 19 % reduced risk of mortality compared to no such activity.

“We found that adding low amounts of physical activity to one’s daily routine, such as 75 minutes of brisk walking per week, was associated with increased longevity: a gain of 1.8 years of life expectancy after age 40, compared with doing no such activity,” explained I-Min Lee, MD, associate epidemiologist in the Department of Preventive Medicine at BWH and senior author on this study. “Physical activity above this minimal level was associated with additional gains in longevity. For example, walking briskly for at least 450 minutes a week was associated with a gain of 4.5 years. Further, physical activity was associated with greater longevity among persons in all BMI groups: those normal weight, overweight, and obese.”

In conclusion, the researchers said this study helps to reinforce the messages that promote active lifestyles, and perhaps, it will convince a currently  inactive person, that even being “moderately active is worth it,” even if it doesn’t result in weight control.




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