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Exercise, Longevity and Life Expectancy


Updated May 21, 2014

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do. Without exercise, you increase your risk of a wide assortment of chronic illnesses. Here is a list of conditions that physical activity can reduce the risk for (and how many people have them) :
  • Coronary Heart Disease (12.6 million)
  • Heart Attack (1.1 million)
  • Diabetes (17 million)
  • Hip Fracture (300,000)
  • High Blood Pressure (50 million)
  • Obesity (50 million)
  • Overweight (108 million)

Exercise Adds Years to Your Life

One study found that the average 65-year-old can expect an additional 12.7 years of healthy life –- meaning he will live disability-free until age 77.7. Highly active 65-years-olds, however, have an additional 5.7 years of healthy life expectancy –- they will remain disability free until age 83.4.

Another study found that increasing physical activity after age 50 can add years to one’s life. In the study, individuals with and without cardiovascular disease were compared by the amount of physical activity they did. Men who were moderately active added 1.3 years to their lives and those who were highly active added 3.7 years. Women who were moderately active added 1.1 years and those were highly active added 3.2 years. In addition, people who exercised more also lived more years free of cardiovascular disease. While moderate exercise increases life expectancy, highly active people more than doubled the benefits.

Get Started

Get started exercising by increasing your physical activity every day. Walk more, get up more and just use your body. Then add in 30-minute periods that you commit to exercise. Do some strength, balance and stretching work. Find a time every day and commit to doing something that's physical.

Make Exercise Fun
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Your Social Life and Exercise
Improve Your Mood With Exercise


Centers for Disease Control. National Center for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Lifestyle.

Centers for Disease Control. National Center for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Why Exercise?.

Franco OH, de Laet C, Peeters A, Jonker J, Mackenbach J, Nusselder W. Effects of physical activity on life expectancy with cardiovascular disease. Arch Intern Med. 2005 Nov 14;165(20):2355-60.

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