Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Leisure-time physical activity extends life expectancy as much as 4.5 years

Date:
November 6, 2012
Source:
NIH/National Cancer Institute
Summary:
Leisure-time physical activity is associated with longer life expectancy, even at relatively low levels of activity and regardless of body weight, according to a new study. The study found that people who engaged in leisure-time physical activity had life expectancy gains of as much as 4.5 years.

This bar graph displays the years of life gained when participants in a study by the National Cancer Institute met various percentages of physical activity guidelines recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Credit: National Cancer Institute

Leisure-time physical activity is associated with longer life expectancy, even at relatively low levels of activity and regardless of body weight, according to a study by a team of researchers led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study, which found that people who engaged in leisure-time physical activity had life expectancy gains of as much as 4.5 years, appeared Nov. 6, 2012, in PLoS Medicine.

In order to determine the number of years of life gained from leisure-time physical activity in adulthood, which translates directly to an increase in life expectancy, researchers examined data on more than 650,000 adults. These people, mostly age 40 and older, took part in one of six population-based studies that were designed to evaluate various aspects of cancer risk.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the parent agency of NIH, recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 engage in regular aerobic physical activity for 2.5 hours at moderate intensity -- or 1.25 hours at vigorous intensity -- each week. Moderate activities are those during which a person could talk but not sing. Vigorous activities are those during which a person could say only a few words without stopping for breath.

After accounting for other factors that could affect life expectancy, the researchers found that life expectancy was 3.4 years longer for people who reported they got the recommend level of physical activity. People who reported leisure-time physical activity at twice the recommended level gained 4.2 years of life. In general, more physical activity corresponded to longer life expectancy.

The researchers even saw benefit at low levels of activity. For example, people who said they got half of the recommended amount of physical activity still added 1.8 years to their life.

"Our findings highlight the important contribution that leisure-time physical activity in adulthood can make to longevity," said study author Steven Moore, Ph.D., of NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and lead author of the study. "Regular exercise extended the lives in every group that we examined in our study -- normal weight, overweight, or obese."

The researchers found that the association between physical activity and life expectancy was similar between men and women, and blacks gained more years of life expectancy than whites. The relationship between life expectancy and physical activity was stronger among those with a history of cancer or heart disease than among people with no history of cancer or heart disease.

The researchers also examined how life expectancy changed with the combination of both activity and obesity. Obesity was associated with a shorter life expectancy, but physical activity helped to mitigate some of the harm. People who were obese and inactive had a life expectancy that was between five to seven years shorter (depending on their level of obesity) than people who were normal weight and moderately active.

Physical activity has been shown to help maintain a healthy body weight, maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, promote psychological well-being, and reduce the risk of certain diseases, including some cancers.

"We must not underestimate how important physical activity is for health -- even modest amounts can add years to our life," said I-Min Lee, M.D., Sc.D. , professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass., and senior author on the study.

This work was supported by NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics under intramural project number ZIACP010196 and by NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences under grants CA105069 and CA047988. Additional support was received from two other parts of the NIH, the National Institute on Aging (AG18033), and the National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute (HL043851 and HL080467).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Cancer Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Steven C. Moore, Alpa V. Patel, Charles E. Matthews, Amy Berrington de Gonzalez, Yikyung Park, Hormuzd A. Katki, Martha S. Linet, Elisabete Weiderpass, Kala Visvanathan, Kathy J. Helzlsouer, Michael Thun, Susan M. Gapstur, Patricia Hartge, I-Min Lee. Leisure Time Physical Activity of Moderate to Vigorous Intensity and Mortality: A Large Pooled Cohort Analysis. PLoS Medicine, 2012; 9 (11): e1001335 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001335

Cite This Page:

NIH/National Cancer Institute. "Leisure-time physical activity extends life expectancy as much as 4.5 years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121106191907.htm>.
NIH/National Cancer Institute. (2012, November 6). Leisure-time physical activity extends life expectancy as much as 4.5 years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121106191907.htm
NIH/National Cancer Institute. "Leisure-time physical activity extends life expectancy as much as 4.5 years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121106191907.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The village of Kasensero on the shores of Lake Victoria was where HIV-AIDS was first discovered in Uganda. Its transient population of fishermen and sex workers means the nationwide programme to combat the virus has had little impact. Duration: 02:30 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins