I know I talk about exercise a lot. But until every last person in this country is getting up and out of their seats more, I obviously still have work to do. So you can expect to keep hearing more and more about it.
Not just because it’s an essential way to safeguard your health. But because research underscoring the vital importance of even the simplest forms of exercise just keeps rolling in.
Take this amazing new study, for example. It showed that older women who clocked the most physical activity had a 65 percent less risk of all-cause mortality than their sedentary peers.
The least active women in this study were doing a mere 8 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. The most active group was clocking over an hour of exercise a day. So really, it’s no wonder the difference in lifespan between the two was so pronounced.
And it’s worth pointing out that this benefit was clear as day even after researchers accounted for just about every longevity-zapping factor imaginable: smoking, drinking, eating habits, hormone therapy, family history of heart attacks and cancer, and overall health—and of course, personal history of heart disease and cancer, as well as cancer screening history. In other words, risk was lower for active women concerning pretty much any reason you can think of which might contribute to a person dying prematurely.
Now admittedly, we’ve known for a long time that exercise is linked with a longer life. But there are a few things that really stand out about this study for me.
For one thing, these researchers measured the actual physical work their subjects were doing instead of relying on self-reported questionnaires. This is by far the most dependable way to collect data of this kind, because let’s face it — people tend to lie, especially where their eating and exercise habits are concerned.
But that’s what makes the finding itself so impressive. To give you some context, being a non-smoker lowers your mortality risk by 50 percent compared to smokers. Which means that your physical activity levels are actually a better predictor of your longevity than your smoking status.
So why aren’t more docs asking their patients how much exercise they’re getting?
These types of lifestyle questions are consistently glossed over — right alongside discussions about eating habits and sleep quality. We’re talking about the three main cornerstones of disease prevention and they barely get a passing mention at most annual physicals.
Ultimately, regular exercise can reduce your risk of dying from anything — not just conditions you typically link to cardiovascular health, like heart disease or diabetes — by a huge margin. It’s a simple fact that I’ve been trying to hammer home for years. Because at the end of the day, everyone can exercise somehow — no matter your limitations.
And the more you exercise, the longer you’ll live. Period. End of story. I’d say that’s a pretty extraordinary benefit to squeeze out of a brisk daily walk, wouldn’t you?
For more strategies to help you reach your fitness goals and live a longer, healthier life, check out my latest book, The A-List Diet, It includes a realistic step-by-step guide with a 30-day meal plan, supplement recommendations, quick-and-easy fitness regimens, and more! You can find it on Amazon.com or on the A-List Diet website.