As we enter “middle age,” or for those already in this demographic, additional evidence demonstrates that the type physical activity you engage in does matter. Participating in activities that make you puff and sweat are the key to avoiding an early death.
This latest report was generated from a huge sample group of over 200,000 people that were followed for six years.
Participants fell into one of two categories:
- those who engaged in only moderate activity (such as slow walking or household chores)
- those who included at least some vigorous activity (such as jogging, aerobics or competitive tennis).
The study found that the risk of mortality for those who included at least some vigorous activity was 9% -13% lower, compared with those who only undertook moderate activity.
In evaluating their results, the authors of this study stated:
- The benefits of vigorous activity applied to men and women of all ages
- The benefits of vigorous exercise were independent of the total amount of time spent being active
- Whether or not you are overweight, have heart disease or diabetes, if you can manage at least some vigorous activity, it could offer significant benefits for longevity
- Encouraging vigorous activities may help to avoid preventable deaths at an earlier age
- Even small amounts of vigorous activity could help reduce your risk of early death
Vigorous exercise occurs when you’re breathing hard and fast and your heart rate has increased significantly. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
Vigorous exercise includes:
- Jogging at a minimum of 6 mph
- Carrying heavy loads
- Bicycling fast (14–16 mph)
- High-intensity competitive sports such as soccer or hockey
- Singles tennis
- Swimming laps
Everyone wants to live a long and healthy life. And every parent wants to enjoy a quality of life that allows them to watch their kids and grandkids grow up and flourish.
So quite simply, you absolutely must move and stay active throughout your lifetime. No groaning or whining…it is time to face the facts.
Here is how to achieve vigorous exercise. First gauge your heart rate.
The basic way to calculate your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220.
For example, if you’re 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 175. This is the maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute while you’re exercising.
- Moderate exercise intensity: 50% – 70% of your maximum heart rate
- Vigorous exercise intensity: 70% – 85% percent of your maximum heart rate
The secret is to find an activity that keeps you motivated.
- Some people love the solitude of running along a trail or river
- Others stay motivated with structured Spinning classes or dance lessons
- A regular team sport like soccer or a basketball pick-up game appeals to the social side of choosing a physical activity
- Paddle boarding or surfing is exercise that connects with nature
Of course, always check with a healthcare professional before beginning any exercise routine.
Beware of pushing yourself too hard too often. If you’re short of breath, in pain or can’t work out as long as you’d planned, your exercise intensity is probably higher than your fitness level allows. Back off a bit and build intensity gradually.
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