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Exercise: Fitter and Stronger to Live Longer

Hopefully you’ve heard by now that exercise is powerful medicine which is proven to be effective against a wide variety of diseases and conditions.  It adds life to your years and years to your life.

But how much, and what sort of exercise should you do to live longer? It may be a lot less than you expect!

A research paper was published last year, where a team of scientists followed over 400,000 Americans for 17 years and surveyed their exercise and other health habits. Over 45,000 of them passed away over the 17 years and researchers were able to identify the effect of exercise on the risk of dying (independent of things like chronic disease, smoking, weight, income etc)

Here’s what they found regarding aerobic exercise:

  • Aerobic exercise of any intensity significantly reduced risk of death
  • One hour a week was enough, 3 hours was optimal and more than that didn’t add any benefit (unless you are over 60, where more is better)
  • Exercise could be moderate or vigorous and done in blocks as short as 10 minutes
  • Aerobic exercise had a stronger benefit in those over 60 years old, presumably by strengthening the immune system and helping risk factors like cholesterol and blood glucose

There were very interesting findings regarding strengthening exercises as well

  • Muscle strengthening exercises performed once or twice a week further decreased risk of death
  • One hour a week was the minimum dose needed, 2 hours was optimal and more than this provided no additional benefit
  • Strength training works via directly improving things like blood glucose, cholesterol, depression, sleep quality and bone density, but the impacts on muscle, tendon and bone mean that older people who continue strength training are able to lead more active lifestyles for longer.

So to sum up:

  • One hour of moderate aerobic activity (walking) plus
  • One strength training session per week is enough to significantly improve your life expectancy

If you are interested in getting fitter and stronger to live longer and need some help, our Exercise Physiologist Eoghan Rosser is here to help. Eoghan can provide

  • An individual health assessment and exercise plan
  • One on one Exercise Physiology sessions in our in-house gym here at Parkside
  • Small-Group Exercise Physiology classes with participants of all ages to help with the social benefit of exercise
  • Home exercise plans for you to complete independently if you prefer.

It might only take one phone call or message to make 2023 your healthiest year yet. Let’s get started!

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