Researchers surveying a large group of middle-aged and older adults report that physical activity that makes you sweat is key to avoiding an early death. In fact, they found that the risk of mortality for those who included some vigorous activity was nine to 13 percent lower compared with those who only undertook moderate activity.
For the study, researchers followed 204,542 adults for more than six years. They classified the participants into three groups: no physical activity at a vigorous level; up to 30 percent of activity at a vigorous level; and 30 percent or more of activity at a vigorous level.
They compared those who engaged only in moderate activity household chores, social tennis, gentle swimming to those who included more vigorous activity such as aerobics, jogging and competitive tennis.
The benefits of vigorous activity applied to men and women and were independent of the total amount of time spent being active, said Dr. Klaus Gebel, from James Cook Universitys Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and lead author. The results indicate that whether or not you are obese, and whether or not you have heart disease or diabetes, if you can manage some vigorous activity it could offer significant benefits for longevity. Our research indicates that even small amounts of vigorous activity could help reduce your risk of early death. For those with medical conditions, for older people in general, and for those who have never done any vigorous activity or exercise before, it's always important to talk to a doctor first. Previous studies indicate that interval training, with short bursts of vigorous effort, is often manageable for older people, including those who are overweight or obese."