To Your Health
September, 2023 (Vol. 17, Issue 09)
By Editorial Staff
The health benefits of physical activity are undoubtable – but how much exercise, and in what combinations, lower your risk of early death, particularly from cancer or cardiovascular disease? The answers come courtesy of new research that evaluated mortality based on participation in different combinations of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
Let's see how much physical activity you should be doing every week – and in what combinations – to live the longest, healthiest life possible.
This large study involved more than 500,000 adults (average age at baseline: 46 years) from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, an ongoing survey of U.S. health conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) since 1957. For the current study, researchers tracked participants for an average of 10 years, assessing how all-cause, heart disease and cancer mortality rates were impacted by physical activity – specifically self-reported cumulative weekly bouts of moderate aerobic physical activity (MPA), vigorous aerobic physical activity (VPA) and muscle-strengthening activity (MSA).
Findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that compared with the reference group (adults who did no MPA or VPA, and less than the recommended MSA), adults who performed 0-75 minutes of MPA, more than 150 minutes of VPA and two or more sessions of MSA per week had the lowest risk of all-cause mortality. In terms of cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality, the optimal combinations of physical activity to achieve the lowest risk were 150-225 minutes of MPA, more than 0-75 minutes of VPA, and two or more MSA sessions per week for CVD risk reduction; and more than 300 minutes of MPA, more than 0-75 minutes of VPA, and two or more MSA sessions per week for cancer risk reduction.