Just like eight hours of sleep per night is the magic formula for optimum health, 30 minutes of daily activity is generally regarded to be aВ sweet spot when it comes toВ exercise and health. ButВ if you can't swing that, you're supposed to at least hitВ theВ minimum recommended amount of weekly exercise:В 150 minutes of moderate activity per week,В which breaks down to 21 minutes of moderate cardio per day. They say it is the key to weight loss and a better life, but how do we know? General health and maintenanceВ aside, how much exercise do you need to actually extend your life span? The scientific community hasn't had a clear senseВ of this-until now. Keep scrolling to find out the stats!
As TheВ New York TimesВ recently reported, two new large-scale studies published inВ JAMA Internal MedicineВ directly tackled the longevity question-with some seriously fascinating results. For one of the studies,В researchers with the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Harvard,В Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and other institutionsВ looked at the aggregatedВ results of six large ongoing health surveys in which people self-reported how much exercise they do per week. With the pooled data, they were able to study the exercise habits of more than 660,000 adults and categorize them based on their level of activity: those who don't exercise at all, those who exercise someВ but still less than the recommended weekly amount ofВ 150 minutes of moderate cardio,В those who exercise two to three times more than the recommended amount, andВ others who exercise upwardВ of threeВ to five times that.В
They were also able to study 14 years' worth ofВ death records for the groupВ and found that those who exercised less than the recommended amount still had aВ 20%В lower mortality riskВ than those who didn't exercise at all-which confirms the old adage thatВ every little bit counts. ThisВ means that even if you're exercising less than 21 minutes a day or 150 minutes per week, you're giving yourself aВ 20% lower risk of death than if you weren't exercising at all. Those who exercisedВ one to two times the minimum recommended weekly amount (300 minutes of moderate cardio per week, which breaks down to about 42 minutes of moderate cardio a day) had a 31% lower risk of mortality,В those who exercised two to threeВ times the minimum recommended amount had a 37% lower rate, and those who exercised three to five times the minimum had aВ 39% lower rate.В
The bottom line? Science shows that if you aim to doВ moderate cardio for about 45 minutes a day, you canВ lower your risk of an earlier death by 31%-and you can reduce it byВ 39%В if you exercise moderately for just over oneВ hour a day (64 minutes). We think that's pretty darn doable, considering the impact it has on your life span!В
The second study looked at vigorous versus moderate exerciseВ and how much of an increase in life span one gets from doing spurts of vigorous exercise instead of sustained moderate exercise. It found that amongВ groups of people who meet the recommended guidelines for exercise each week, those who categorized at least 30%В of their exercise being vigorousВ had a 9% lower risk of mortality than those who only do moderate exercise all week, and if more than 30% was vigorous, the lowered risk went from 9% toВ 13%. The takeaway? The numbers are most stacked in your favor ifВ you work out for an hour a day per weekВ and if more than 30% of yourВ weekly exercise is vigorous.
Will this inspire you to work out more each week? Tell us what you think in the comments!