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Does Exercise Lengthen Your Life?

By Randi Morse

We are always told that we should exercise more. You'll find all sorts of advertisements and infomercials that promote the benefits of exercising. And it is true, exercise can provide a number of health benefits that includes strengthening your bones, helping to prevent chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes, and it has even been known to help lift moods due to the endorphins that are released when you're exercising. But is it possible for exercise to extend your life?

Cardiorespiratory Fitness

One study decided to research how much cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) connected with mortality rates. The researchers studied more than 122,000 patients, putting them through testing on an exercise treadmill. This is the easiest way to measure CRF. Participants range in age between 18 and 80, but the average age was 53. Researchers discovered that there was a significant difference between CRF and mortality rates.  People who had higher levels of fitness and exercise regularly had a higher survival rate than those who had a more sedentary lifestyle. One of the biggest changes scientists noticed was how much better blood pressure rates were for those participants who exercised regularly.

How Much Exercise?

So the study determined that everything we've heard previously was correct, exercise can help you live longer. But how much exercise do you have to do in order to reap the benefits and have a longer life span? The guidelines currently recommend between 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. Moderate aerobic activity includes exercises like walking, swimming, or even jogging.  Those people who enjoy vigorous exercises only have to exercise around 75 minutes a day. Resistance training twice a week is also recommended to help strengthen muscles.

How Do I Start?

Getting started with a new fitness routine can be difficult, it's important to start small and give yourself attainable goals. It's not very realistic to think that you will be able to run a marathon in only a few weeks. Start with a simple routine like walking 20 minutes, three times a week. Every few weeks you can add five more minutes to your walk, and then eventually you can add another day to your schedule. Before you know it you'll have reached your 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Boulder, Colo.

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