Countless studies link regular exercise with reduced disease risk. A recent study points out that individuals who exercise regularly are also likely to live longer than those who do not exercise. The report, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (2011; 40 [5], 1382–1400), includes data from more than 1.3 million individuals across 80 studies. The goal was to identify possible parallels between all-cause mortality levels and physical activity levels.

“We estimated combined risk ratios associated with defined increments and recommended levels, using random-effects meta-analysis and dose-response meta-regression models,” the study authors explained. They found that subjects who exercised regularly had a lower mortality risk. Those who achieved 150 minutes of moderate activity each week reduced their risk by 10%; vigorous exercise garnered a 22% reduction. When the time was increased to 300 minutes per week, the risk fell by 19% for moderate exercise and by 39% for vigorous exercise. Women saw a greater risk reduction than men.

As stated in the report, “Higher levels of total and domain-specific physical activity were associated with reduced all-cause mortality. . . . Risk reduction per unit of time increase was largest for vigorous exercise. Moderate-intensity activities of daily living were, to a lesser extent, beneficial in reducing mortality.”