Regular exercise is the key to a healthier and longer life. The effect of exercise is so powerful that you can gain additional time on earth even if you start exercising in your middle age. Research has shown that people who begin an exercise program in their middle age can reduce their risk of death by as much as 23% over the next 20 years.
You do not need to be an excellent athlete to gain the longevity benefit of exercise. It has been proven through studies that college students who start exercising regularly in middle age live longer than college student athletes who lead an inactive lifestyle later. When you are exercising to promote longevity, persistence is more important than athletic talent.
In a study called the Harvard Alumni Study, researchers found that people who burned 2,000 calories a week through exercise had a life expectancy that was two years longer than that of individuals who led a sedentary lifestyle. This study examined the mortality rates of over 17,000 men who had studied in Harvard University over a period of 22 to 26 years. Since 2,000 calories can be expended through only 15 miles of jogging, it is means that you only need to do a modest amount of exercise to increase your longevity significantly.
So, how does regular exercise make you live longer?
Exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease by raising high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or good cholesterol, levels in your body. If you jog 11 to 14 miles a week, you can lower your heart attack risk by about 30%. Exercise is also effective in reducing the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and possibly even cancer.