Being in shape may be as important to a long life as not smoking, according to an interesting new study of the links between fitness and mortality. The study also explores whether there is any ceiling to the benefits of fitness, whether, in essence, you can exercise too much. The answer it found is a reassuring no. At this point, we should not be surprised to hear that almost all studies have found people who exercise and have high aerobic endurance tend to live longer than those who are sedentary and out of shape. But much of this research relied on asking people about their exercise routines, a practice that is known to elicit unreliable answers. So in a new recently published study, a group of researchers and physicians at the Cleveland Clinic decided to look for more objective ways to measure the relationship between endurance and longevity. They studied a large example of stress tests performed on participants and followed those individual’s life longevity over a period of time. The results clearly showed the greater someone’s fitness the less likely he or she was to have died prematurely. This correlation held true at every level of fitness, the researchers found. People with the lowest fitness were more likely to die early than those with below-average fitness, while those with high fitness lived longer than those whose fitness was above average. Even at the loftiest reaches of endurance the advantage held true according to the data. People with elite fitness lived longer than those with high fitness and were about 80 percent less likely to die prematurely than the men and women with the lowest endurance. More surprising, when the researchers compared the longevity benefits of endurance to those of other health factors, fitness held up well. In other words the study indicated that being out of shape increased someone’s risk of dying early as much as smoking did. The correlations didn’t suggest that being fit somehow balances out or reduces the health risks of smoking.
So I think we can say, based on this study, that any level of exercise is beneficial to leading a long and healthy life.
By Michael Gross
Michael is a pioneer in the burgeoning indoor trampoline park industry. He is managing member of Bounce! Trampoline Sports, overseeing the development and operation of 8 locations currently for this franchised brand. His trampoline park located in Valley Cottage, NY was the first of its kind in the tri-state area when it opened in November of 2011. Michael is a founding member of the IATP (international assoc. of trampoline parks) and on the ASTM committee establishing standards for the indoor trampoline park industry. Michael has been involved with health oriented physical activities his whole life and continues a daily regimen of cross fit training at his home in the heart of the Catskill