The Perfect Amount of Exercise Finally Revealed

woman working outWe all know exercise will help us live longer. But, say you don't like working out (or even moving your body very much at all). If you still want to avoid many of the diseases and conditions that lead to a premature death, what's the "just enough" sweet spot amount of effective exercise? Science is here with the answer!

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Two large studies published this week looked at how much exercise we really need to do to ward off an early death. What they found was that even a little bit helps. But more is always better.

To give us a baseline, the current recommended amount of exercise for overall health is 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That could be 30 minutes, five times a week. Or it could be 50 minutes three times a week.

Follow those guidelines exactly, and you'll reduce your risk of an early death by about 31 percent. If you do less that this, but you're still doing something, you're still going to reduce your chances by 20 percent. However, if you can get 450 minutes of moderate exercise per week (a little over an hour a day, mostly walking) you'll reduce your risk by 39 percent.

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Another way to boost your chances of living longer is to increase the intensity of your workout. You know -- raise your heart rate and sweat through vigorous activity.

So your ideal long-life workout routine might involve 150 minutes of exercise, including 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise. A few ways to do that:

1. Go for a 30 minute bike ride 4 days a week, and do a vigorous 30-minute session on the elliptical one day a week.

2. Three times a week start by jogging for 10 minutes and then walk for an additional 40 minutes.

3. Do a 30 minute spin class once a week and an hour-long yoga class twice a week.

Aaaand, if you want to work out more than that, all the better! It may not increase your chances of living a longer life, but more exercise (especially vigorous cardio and strength training) can definitely enhance that life you're prolonging. So that's another thing to consider.

How much exercise do you usually manage to fit in a week?

 

Image via bogdanhoda/Shutterstock

 

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