Two large-scale new studies of the relationship between physical activity and longevity show that the right types and amounts of physical activity reduce the risk of premature death by as much as 70 percent.

The two studies also suggest that there can be an upper limit to the longevity benefits of being active, and pushing beyond that ceiling is unlikely to add years to our life spans and, in extreme cases, might be detrimental.

Dr. James O’Keefe, director of preventive cardiology at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and a professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was an author on one of the studies. The study, published in August in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, asked tens of thousands of participants how many hours they exercised a week. 

“The very active group, people doing 10-plus hours of activity a week, lost about a third of the mortality benefits,” compared to people exercising for 2.6 to 4.5 hours a week," Dr. O'Keefe said.

Read the full New York Times article: How Much Exercise Do We Need to Live Longer?


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