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Exercising more than guidelines suggest may further reduce risk of death


Doubling to quadrupling the minimum amount of weekly physical activity recommended for American adults can significantly reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and other causes, new research shows.

The study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation on Monday, found that people who followed minimum guidelines for long-term moderate or vigorous leisure-time physical activity reduced their risk of dying from any cause. up to 21%. But adults who exercised two to four times the minimum could reduce their mortality risk by up to 31%.

“Our study provides evidence to guide individuals in choosing the right amount and intensity of physical activity over their lifetime to maintain their overall health,” said study author Dong Hoon Lee. , in a press release. Lee is a research associate in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

“Our findings support current national guidelines for physical activity and further suggest that maximum benefits can be achieved by performing moderate to high levels of moderate or vigorous activity or a combination.”

The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercise, or a combination of the two. These tips are based on federal physical activity guidelines.

For the new research, a team analyzed 30 years of medical records and mortality data from more than 100,000 adults enrolled in two large studies: the All-Female Nurses Health Study and the Professional Follow-Up Study. all-male health. Data included self-reported measures of leisure time physical activity intensity and duration. The participants were on average 66 years old.

In the study, moderate physical activity was defined as walking, low-intensity exercise, weight lifting, and calisthenics. Vigorous activities included jogging, running, swimming, cycling, and other aerobic exercise.

Going beyond the recommended minimums reaped greater longevity rewards, especially for moderate physical activity. Additional moderate-intensity exercise – 300 to 600 minutes per week – was associated with a 26% to 31% lower risk of death from any cause compared to almost no moderate-intensity exercise at all. long term. In comparison, people who only met the minimum goals of moderate physical activity had a 20-21% lower risk.

For vigorous physical activity, doing 150 to 300 minutes a week was linked to a 21% to 23% lower risk of death from any cause than having none. This compares to a 19% lower risk for people who have just reached the minimum exercise goal.

People who reported meeting the moderate physical activity recommendation had a 22-25% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, while those who exercised two to four times the recommendation had a 28-percent lower risk. 38% lower, according to the analysis. Those who reported the recommended amount of vigorous physical activity were 31% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, while those who doubled or quadrupled the recommended goal had a 27% to 33% lower risk.

Engaging in more than 300 weekly minutes of vigorous physical activity or 600 weekly minutes of moderate physical activity did not further reduce the risk of death, the study found. But it didn’t hurt cardiovascular health either. Previous research has suggested that long-term, high-intensity endurance activities — such as marathons, triathlons and long-distance cycling races — may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, including sudden cardiac death.

“This finding may reduce concerns about the potential harmful effect of engaging in high levels of physical activity seen in several previous studies,” Lee said.

Donna K. Arnett, new executive vice president for academic affairs and vice president at the University of South Carolina, said in the statement that the results matched what was already known about the benefits of regular physical activity on heart health.

“We have long known that moderate and intense levels of physical exercise can reduce the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and mortality,” said Arnett, who helped write the AHA’s cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines. and the American College of Cardiology. She was not involved in the new research.

“We also found that doing more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or more than 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity each week can further reduce the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, so it is logical that those extra minutes of exercise can also reduce mortality,” she said.

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