From: Scott Douglas, Runners World
Published July 26, 2012 04:36 PM

Exercise Really Does Help you live longer!

Regular physical activity adds about four years to life expectancy, and endurance exercise during leisure time seems to be better at extending life than physical activity done as work, according to a new research review published in the Journal of Aging Research.

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German researchers gathered well-designed studies on one of the most basic, but important, questions in health: Does physical activity increase life expectancy? In reviewing the results of the studies, they found the answer was an unequivocal yes. Among the studies, there was a wide range of extra years found for active versus nonactive people, from less than half a year in one study to close to seven years in another. When the results of the studies were combined, the researchers wrote,

"The median increase of life expectancy of men and women in the eight studies presenting data on both sexes amounted to 3.7 years each."

One interesting finding was that purposeful exercise might trump being physically active as a consequence of one's life. As the researchers put it, "Physical activity during leisure time seems to increase life expectancy more effectively than total physical activity." A potential contributing factor here is that people who exercise regularly might have other good health habits, such as eating well and not smoking, while people who are active as a result of their work might be more likely to have bad health habits. Indeed, the researchers note the strong cumulative effect of activity with other good health habits:

"Subjects who never smoked, follow a healthy diet, are adequately physically active, and consume only moderate alcohol have a mean life expectancy that is 11.1 years longer than those who practice none of these healthy life behaviors."

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