Multiple studies over a number of years have shown that if we have certain risk factors, such as an unhealthy LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio, high blood pressure, or a waistline over half of our height, we have an increased risk for developing heart disease. What we didn’t know until recently was the part exercise played in increasing our longevity.
Exercises like cardio, stretching, strength training, abdominal core training, and high intensity interval training (HIIT) routines help lower your risk factors by getting unhealthy numbers back into the healthy range. And HIIT boosts the human growth hormone (HGH) production which in turn increases strength, energy, overall health, and longevity.
In a recent Australian study, they used data collected on 8,600 men and women over a course of15 years to see who in the group had died and the cause. Part of the data collected was the exercise level of the participant:
• Never or rarely exercised
• Regular brisk walking and/or occasional vigorous exercise
• Worked out daily, and often vigorously
What they found was people in the first exercise group had twice the risk of dying as those in the second group and six times greater risk than those in the third group. Even participants who had less than ideal health numbers but exercised regularly had less risk of dying than those with better health numbers but who exercised less. Concrete proof that exercising has a great effect on longevity.
Another study published in the Stroke journal in November 2013 found that walking daily significantly decreased the risk of a stroke in men over 60.
The research involved 3,500 men from ages 60 to 80 who were divided into five groups depending on how long they walked each week:
1. 1-3 hours/week
2. 4-7 hours/week
3. 8-14 hours/week
4. 15-21 hours/week
5. More than 21 hours/week
The results – walking for at least an hour per day cut the risk of a stroke by one-third; a three-hour long walk each day reduced the risk by two-thirds. The pace of the walk was not a significant factor in reducing the risk.
The other part of the equation to longevity is diet. Exercise coupled with a healthy diet is a recipe for a longer fuller life. A healthy diet should consist of good fats, lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
Living healthy and for a long time has always been about exercising and heating healthy foods; that isn’t going to change. The studies cited in this article just further solidify what we have known all along.