Exercise and Longevity

Posted by Blog Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vigor and health are wonderful, wonderful things, but longevity doesn’t hurt, either. Cicero again: “No one is so old that he does not think he could live another year.”

Regular exercise prolongs life. According to the calculations of Dr. Willard Manning and his colleagues, each mile you walk as part of a regular exercise program will extend your life by twenty-one minutes. The Harvard Alumni Study is even more optimistic; according to my calculations, these data tell us that you’ll gain about two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular exercise, even if you don’t start until middle age.

Calculations are one thing, observational facts another. Scientists have gathered facts by evaluating elderly men in Hawaii, Seventh-Day Adventists in California, male and female residents of Framingham, Massachusetts, Harvard alumni, elderly American women, British joggers, middle-aged Englishmen, retired Dutchmen, and residents of Copenhagen—among others.  Although the details vary, the bottom line is remarkably uniform: regular exercise prolongs life and reduces the burden of disease and disability in old age. In reviewing the data, Dr. J. Michael McGinnis of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion concludes that regular physical activity appears to reduce the overall mortality rate by more than a quarter and to increase the life expectancy by more than two years compared with the sedentary population’s average.

More About Exercise:

Exercise, your body,and your Health

Exercise and Your Body


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