If you meet the federal government’s goals for weekly exercise, you might live longer.Â This is the conclusion of a new study of 250,000 people over eight years published in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. People with and without chronic health problems were surveyed about their exercise habits, with about 45% of participants having at least one chronic health issue such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.
The federal government recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, in addition to strengthening exercises at least twice a week.Â Twenty-four percent of people with chronic health problems got enough aerobic activity compared to twenty-seven percent of people with no chronic health problems.Â Twelve percent of adults with chronic conditions met both the aerobic and strengthening guidelines compared to nineteen percent ofÂ adults without chronic conditions.
Respondents with no chronic illnesses who met the federal exercise goals had a 27% reduction in mortality compared to people who did not meet the federal guidelines.Â People with chronic illnesses seemed to benefit even more, with those getting adequate exercise reducing their mortality by 50%.
“Our study provides evidence that adults who adhere to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines reduce their mortality risks compared with adults who don’t meet the recommendations, and adults who have chronic health conditions may benefit even more,” said Charlotte Schoenborn, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. She is lead author of the study appearing in the online and in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Key Guidelines for Adults from Department of Health and Human Services
- All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
- For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
- For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.
- Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.