Here’s how many minutes of exercise a week can help you live longer

Regular exercise is known to be good for you, and a new study published in Circulation, a scientific journal of the American Heart Association, underscores this notion.

A study of 116,221 adults found that those who exceeded minimum levels of moderate or vigorous physical activity had a lower risk of early death.

Current physical activity guidelines for adults:

Current physical activity guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity and 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week, according to the study.

This study defined moderate physical activity as walking, weightlifting, and low-intensity exercise. It categorized exercises such as running, cycling and swimming as vigorous physical activity.

Those who worked two to four times more than the minimum lived longer.

Study participants self-reported their leisure-time physical activity (not work-related or other physical activity) via questionnaire over a 30-year period.

From there, the study reported that those who did two to four times the minimum amount of exercise had a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and other causes.

Specifically, the study reported that those who engaged in two to four times the average physical activity recommendation (300 to 599 minutes per week) benefited the most. Participants had “26% to 31% lower all-cause mortality and 28% to 38% lower all-cause mortality.” [cardiovascular] death and not less than 25% to 27%[cardiovascular]” death, according to the study.

Study participants who did two to four times the recommended amount of vigorous physical activity (about 150 to 299 minutes per week) “had a 21% to 23% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 27% to 33% lower risk of death. [cardiovascular] death and not less than 19%[cardiovascular] death,” says the study.

These numbers compare to those who reported zero (or almost zero) weekly physical activity.

Although weekly exercise is good for you, it’s important to note that there is room for error in how the study participants reported their physical activity.

In addition, the results suggest an association between greater exercise and a lower risk of early death. However, tons of previous research has shown that exercise is very beneficial to our health – so it’s no surprise that research has found a correlation between physical activity and longevity.

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Cycling will help you achieve your weekly vigorous physical activity goal.

It’s never too late to reap the benefits of exercise.

If you’re motivated by the findings and want to try vigorous cycling or walking for the first time now, go for it.

Just make sure you start slow. According to Dr. Elizabeth C. Gardner, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and sports medicine at Yale Medicine, “wAnytime you’re introducing a new workout to your workout routine…start with 10 minutes first. [the] a movement like brisk walking, between easy walking’.

This will help you gradually introduce new moderate or vigorous activity into your routine. From there, you can increase the duration or pace over the coming weeks, he noted.

Intense workouts require proper preparation to make sure your body is ready. Gardner said you should make sure you’re hydrating until you have something to fuel you through the exercise, and do a dynamic warm-up that “activates the muscles you’re going to use in your chosen activity,” she said.

Specifically, Gardner recommends repeating the movements of the exercises you do during the warm-up. For example, doing knee lifts before a run or stretching before a round of tennis.

It’s “a good way to make sure your muscles and joints are ready for exercise,” he said.

In addition to cardio, prioritize strength training.

“It’s also very important to supplement moderate-intensity exercise with strength training — generally people are recommended to do strength training twice a week,” Gardner said.

It helps increase muscle mass, maintain bone strength and maintain balance, he added.

Plus, weightlifting was categorized as moderate physical activity in this study, so by doing strength training twice a week, you’ll be well on your way to meeting the minimum training guidelines — or better.

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