A new study published in the journal Circulation has shown that people who participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity for 150-600 minutes per week have the lowest risk of mortality from all causes.
The study included more than 116,000 American adults and followed them for 30 years. The participants filled out a detailed questionnaire to measure leisure-time physical activity during the 30-year follow-up period. Deaths during this time were recorded, and the amount of moderate and vigorous physical activity completed by participants was compared to mortality for each individual.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans currently recommends that adults get 150-300 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75-150 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. In the study, participants getting 150-300 minutes of moderate activity per week lowered their risk of dying from any cause by 20-21%, and those who got 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity per week lowered their risk by 19%. However, getting two to four times the amount of recommended activity was associated with even lower risks. Specifically, those who got two to four times the recommended amount of vigorous activity lowered their risk by 21-23%, and those who got two to four times the amount of moderate activity lowered their risk by 26-31%.
The lead author of the study noted that these results support the benefits of regular physical activity. Additionally, the results may alleviate potential concerns about getting too much physical activity per week. While this study shows that more activity is generally better, even a small amount of exercise every day can make a major impact on overall health and particularly on heart health.