The results of a recent study conducted on exercise that appeared in the NY Times caught our eye at DailyEndorphin. Although we are generally (for better or worse) a country of extremes in the U.S., this proves yet again that the key to getting the best health and a longer life from exercise is doing it moderately (& consistently). However, we must remember to separate the issue of vanity here, as the results of this study only focus on health and living longer, not on what moderate exercise does for one’s outward appearance. Here are a few key excerpts:
Notably, in closely parsing the participants’ self-reported activities, the researchers found that running in moderation provided the most benefits. Those who ran 1 to 20 miles per week at an average pace of about 10 or 11 minutes per mile — in other words, jogging — reduced their risk of dying during the study more effectively than those who didn’t run, those (admittedly few) who ran more than 20 miles a week, and those who typically ran at a pace swifter than seven miles an hour.
“These data certainly support the idea that more running is not needed to produce extra health and mortality benefits,” said Dr. Carl J. Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans and an author of the study. “If anything,” he continued, “it appears that less running is associated with the best protection from mortality risk. More is not better, and actually, more could be worse.”
This decidedly modest amount of exercise led to an increase of, on average, 6.2 years in the life span of male joggers and 5.6 years in women.
“We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity,” Dr. Peter Schnorr, a cardiologist and an author of the study, said in presenting the findings at a clinical meeting organized last month by the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation. “The good news is that you don’t actually need to do that much to reap the benefits.”
This study further proves that exercise (and health & wellness in general) need not be an extreme all or nothing endeavor. So what’s stopping far too many of us from at least engaging in doing something moderately physically active on a regular basis that will yield true ROI in terms of our health (if not our outward appearance) and longevity? Is it our cultural obsession with vanity and being perfect? Or something else entirely?