This month’s article is again from Ken Pope’s listserv. This month I’m less crazy about the quote he includes at the end, but to each their own and I am very grateful for his daily and entirely free summaries of key articles (anyone can join his listserv). The article is as follows:
The *New York Times* includes an article: “The Right Dose of Exercise for a Longer Life” by Gretchen Reynolds.
Here are some excerpts:
So the new studies, both of which were published last week in JAMA Internal Medicine, helpfully tackle those questions.
In the broader of the two studies, researchers with the National Cancer Institute, Harvard University, and other institutions gathered and pooled data about people’s exercise habits from six large, ongoing health surveys, winding up with information about more than 661,000 adults, most of them middle-aged.
Using this data, the researchers stratified the adults by their weekly exercise time, from those who did not exercise at all to those who worked out for 10 times of the current recommendations or more (meaning that the exercised moderately for 25 hours per week or more).
Then they compared 14 years’ worth of death records for the group.
They found that, unsurprisingly, the people who did not exercise at all were at the highest risk of early death.
But those who exercised a little, not meeting the recommendations but doing something, lowered their risk of premature death by 20%.
Those who met the guidelines precisely, completing 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, enjoyed greater longevity benefits and 31% less risk of dying during the 14-year period compared with those who never exercised.
The sweet spot for exercise benefits, however, came among those who tripled the recommended level of exercise, working out moderately, mostly by walking, for 450 minutes per week, or a little more than an hour per day. Those people were 39% less likely to die prematurely than people who never exercised.
At that point, the benefits plateaued, the researchers found, but they never significantly declined.
The other new study of exercise and mortality reached a somewhat similar conclusion about intensity.
For this study, Australian researchers closely examined health survey data for more than 200,000 Australian adults, determining how much time each person spent exercising and how much of that exercise qualified as vigorous, such as running instead of walking, or playing competitive singles tennis versus a sociable doubles game.
Then, as with the other study, they checked death statistics. And as in the other study, they found that meeting the exercise guidelines substantially reduced the risk of early death, even if someone’s exercise was moderate, such as walking.
But if someone engaged in even occasional vigorous exercise, he or she gained a small but not unimportant additional reduction in mortality.
Those who spent up to 30% of their weekly exercise time in vigorous activities were 9 percent less likely to die prematurely than people who exercised for the same amount of time but always moderately, while those who spent more than 30 percent of their exercise time in strenuous activities gained an extra 13 percent reduction in early mortality, compared with people who never broke much of a sweat.
The researchers did not note any increase in mortality, even among those few people completing the largest amounts of intense exercise.
Anyone who is physically capable of activity should try to “reach at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week and have around 20 to 30 minutes of that be vigorous activity,” says Klaus Gebel, a senior research fellow at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, who led the second study.
The article is online at:
POPE: [in press] “STEPS TO STRENGTHEN ETHICS IN ORGANIZATIONS: RESEARCH FINDINGS, ETHICS PLACEBOS, & WHAT WORKS”:
“One of the few things I know…is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for [later]; give it all, give it now…. Something more will arise for later…. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
John Pullyblank, Ph.D., R.Psych.