600 minutes of weekly exercise cuts risk of death by nearly 30%: Study
A new study by Harvard University finds going above and beyond the recommended amount of weekly exercise can significantly reduce the risk of death among adults.
It is well documented that regular physical activity is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.
The study, which was published in the journal Circulation, found that working out between 150 and 600 minutes a week can cut a person’s risk of early death by up to a third.
Researchers analyzed 100,000 participants over a 30-year period for their study. They found that adults who performed two to four times the standard amount of moderate or vigorous exercise per week had a significantly lower risk of death from all causes.
Among those who engaged in this much vigorous physical activity, the risk of mortality fell by 21 to 23 percent. For those who participated in two to four times the recommended amount of moderate physical activity, the death risk dropped 26 to 31 percent
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity weekly, or a combination of both. Meanwhile, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity.
“The potential impact of physical activity on health is great, yet it remains unclear whether engaging in high levels of prolonged, vigorous or moderate intensity physical activity above the recommended levels provides any additional benefits or harmful effects on cardiovascular health,” says Dong Hoon Lee, Sc.D., M.S., a research associate in the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, in a media release.
“Our study leveraged repeated measures of self-reported physical activity over decades to examine the association between long-term physical activity during middle and late adulthood and mortality.”
Previous studies found evidence that too much high-intensity exercise may increase the risk of adverse cardiovascular events.
“This finding may reduce the concerns around the potential harmful effect of engaging in high levels of physical activity observed in several previous studies,” explains Lee.
However, study authors note those exercising for more than four times the recommended weekly minimum did not see any additional reduction in their risk of death.