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Happy Heart, Longer Life: How Exercise Increases Your Lifespan

April 9, 2019

healthy-life-exercise-lifespanIt's no secret that exercise can increase your lifespan. Turns out, doing a few rounds of squats or pushups in between episodes of your current Netflix binge is not only good for you but can also help you live longer. Think of all the shows you can watch with a few more years tacked on!

Adding exercise to your daily routine isn’t just a good idea for warding off chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. There is strong evidence that suggests It can also help you live longer — in some cases adding up to 12 years to your life. And the good news is even short bouts of exercise can have immediate health benefits. A single workout session “can reduce blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, improve sleep, reduce anxiety symptoms, and improve some aspects of cognition on the day that it is performed,” the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports.

So let’s look at how much exercise you need to increase your lifespan.

Start Exercising Early to Increase Lifespan

According to the CDC, roughly $117 billion in annual healthcare costs and about 10 percent of premature deaths are associated with not enough exercise.

Another recent study found that starting and maintaining an exercise routine in your younger years can help your heart stay strong as an older adult. Researchers at the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University studied a group of people who have remained physically active for the last 50 years. Those active people had better overall health than their sedentary counterparts and that these 75-year-old men and women had cardiovascular health similar to 40- to 45-year-olds.

Exercise Amounts Affect Lifespan

The new physical activity guidelines for Americans recommend getting 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and at least two hours of muscle-strengthening activity weekly. If you’re looking to get all the benefits in half the time, consider 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise.

Examples for moderate-intensity aerobic activities include:

  • Swimming leisurely
  • Brisk walking
  • Cycling
  • Gardening/Yardwork
  • Cleaning/Housework
  • Shopping

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include:

  • Pushups
  • Squats
  • Lifting weights
  • Planks

Examples of high-intensity activities include:

  • Running
  • High-intensity interval training
  • Climbing stairs
  • Jumping rope

Even healthy adults have to pay attention to their fitness levels. Especially if you’re just getting started with exercise. Here are a few ways you can ease in at your own pace.

Make Exercise Fun

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore either. There are simple ways to incorporate regular exercise, work your major muscles and have lots of fun, too. If you have children, take them for a walk. Park farther away from your destination. Walk around while you talk on the phone. If your body is moving, you’re going to benefit.

If you aren’t the type of person who wants to exercise alone, a Mayo Clinic study found team sports compound the benefits of regular solo exercise and add years to your life. Tennis, badminton and soccer are examples of team sports that are more beneficial than cycling, jogging or gym exercise, the study states.

Talk to your doctor before starting any routine, make a plan and stick with it.

Even if you’re short on time, some exercise is better than nothing. Our free download breaks down the most recent Physical Activity Guidelines. Five minutes here and there adds up in the long run. So next time you’re taking a bathroom break during your Netflix binge, do 10 squats and a few pushups before you sit back down. Your heart and your body will thank you later!

 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans