Exercise May Not Be the Key to Longevity, According to Research
A recent study conducted by Scandinavian scientists has challenged the widely accepted belief that exercise is the key to longevity. In fact, the research suggests that too much physical activity could actually accelerate the aging process in our bodies. Although the study has yet to be peer-reviewed, it has already won a national sports medicine prize in Finland, where it was conducted over a 45-year period.
The study, conducted at the University of Jyvaskyla, analyzed over 11,000 Finnish same-sex twins between 1975 and 2020. The participants self-reported their daily physical activity and were divided into four categories: sedentary, moderately active, active, and highly active. Previous studies have consistently shown that those who exercise more tend to live longer and healthier lives. However, this study found that physical activity may only play a small role in overall longevity and, in some cases, could have negative health impacts.
Overall, the study found that those who exercised the least were about 20 percent more likely to die over the 45-year period compared to those who were regularly active. However, when factors such as education, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and alcohol consumption were taken into account, the increased risk of death for the sedentary group dropped to only seven percent compared to the active group. This suggests that the benefits of exercise may not come from the workouts themselves, but rather from the overall healthier lifestyle associated with regular physical activity.
Interestingly, the study also found that both too little and too much exercise could accelerate biological aging. Those who were the most physically active were found to be approximately 1.8 years “older” than those who engaged in a more moderate amount of physical activity. This further supports the idea that moderation is key when it comes to exercise and longevity.
While the specific amount of time spent exercising by each group was not mentioned in the study, the World Health Organization recommends that adults aged 18 to 64 engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.
Dr. George Savva, a senior research scientist at the Quadram Institute in Norwich, England, praised the study for its powerful research design using twins. However, he cautioned that the filtering for BMI, which can be influenced by physical activity, may have skewed some of the findings related to the impact of exercise.
In conclusion, this groundbreaking study challenges the notion that exercise is the sole determinant of longevity. While physical activity remains important for overall health, it is clear that other factors, such as education, BMI, and lifestyle choices, also play a significant role. As with many things in life, moderation appears to be the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and potentially extending our years.
Original Story at nypost.com – 2023-12-07 01:37:00