An analysis of more than 100,000 participants over a 30-year follow-up period has found that adults who perform two to four times the currently recommended amount of physical activity moderate or vigorous exercise per week have a significantly lower risk of mortality, according to new research published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association. The reduction was 21-23% for people who got two to four times the recommended amount of vigorous physical activity, and 26-31% for people who got two to four times the recommended amount of moderate to moderate physical activity. week.
It is well documented that regular physical activity is associated with reduced risk of disease cardiovascular disease and premature death. In 2018, the US Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommended that adults engage in at least 150-300 minutes/week of moderate physical activity or 75-150 minutes/week of vigorous physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both intensities. Current recommendations from the American Heart Association, which are based on the HHS Physical Activity Guidelines, are at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise of moderate intensity or 75 minutes weekly or of vigorous aerobic exercise, or a combination of both.
“The potential impact of physical activity on health is large, but it remains unclear whether engaging in high levels of prolonged, vigorous, or moderate-intensity physical activity above recommended levels provides any added benefits or detrimental effects on cardiovascular health – explains Dong Hoon Lee, associate researcher in the department of nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (United States) -. Our study took advantage of repeated measures of self-reported physical activity over decades to examine the association between long-term physical activity during middle and late adulthood and mortality.”
The researchers analyzed mortality data and medical records from more than 100,000 adults collected in two large prospective studies: the Nurses’ Health Study, comprised of women, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, comprised of men. between 1988 and 2018. The participants whose data was examined were 63% female, and more than 96% were white adults. They had a mean age of 66 years and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 26 kg/m2 during the 30-year follow-up period.
Participants reported their leisure-time physical activity by completing a validated ‘Nurses’ Health Study’ or ‘Health Professionals Follow-Up Study’ questionnaire every two years. Publicly available questionnaires, which updated and expanded every two years, they included questions about health information, medically diagnosed illnesses, family medical history, and personal habits such as cigarette and alcohol consumption and frequency of exercise.
Exercise data were reported as the mean time spent per week in various physical activities over the past year. Moderate activity was defined as walking, low-intensity exercise, weight lifting, and calisthenics. Vigorous activity included jogging, running, swimming, cycling, and other exercises aerobics.
The analysis revealed that adults who engaged in twice the currently recommended moderate or vigorous physical activity each week they had the lowest risk of long-term mortality.
The analysis also found that participants who met the vigorous physical activity guidelines had a 31% lower observed risk of CVD mortality and 15% lower non-CVD mortality, for an overall 19% lower risk of death from all causes.
Participants who met guidelines for moderate physical activity had a 22-25% lower risk of CVD mortality and a 19-20% lower risk of non-CVD mortality, suggesting a 20-21% lower overall risk of death from all causes. For participants who engaged in two to four times the recommended amount of long-term vigorous physical activity (150-300 min/week), they had a 27-33% lower observed risk of CVD mortality and a 19% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. % non-CVD related mortality, for an overall 21-23% lower risk of death from all causes.
Those who engaged in two to four times the recommended amount of moderate physical activity (300-600 min/week) had an observed 28-38% lower risk of CVD mortality and a 25-27% lower risk of mortality from causes other than cardiovascular disease. CVD, for an overall 26-31% lower risk of mortality for all causes.
In addition, no detrimental effects on cardiovascular health were found among adults who reported engaging in more than four times the minimum recommended activity levels. Previous studies have found evidence that long-term, high-intensity endurance exercise, such as marathons, triathlons, and long-distance cycling, can increase the risk of events adverse cardiovascular events, such as myocardial fibrosis, coronary artery calcification, atrial fibrillation, and sudden cardiac death.
“This finding may reduce the concerns about the potential harmful effect high levels of physical activity observed in several previous studies,” Lee notes. However, long-term high-intensity physical activity (=300 minutes/week) or moderate-intensity physical activity (=600 minutes/week) week) at levels more than four times the recommended weekly minimum did not provide any further reduction in the risk of death.
“Our study provides evidence to guide individuals to choosing the right amount and intensity of physical activity throughout your life to maintain your overall health,” Lee said. Our findings support current national physical activity guidelines and further suggest that maximum benefits can be achieved by engaging in medium or high levels of moderate or vigorous activity or a combination.”
It also notes that people who engage in less than 75 minutes of vigorous activity or less than 150 minutes of moderate activity per week may have greater mortality reduction benefits if they consistently engage in 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 -300 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or an equivalent combination of both, in the long term.
“We’ve known for a long time that moderate and intense levels of physical exercise can reduce a person’s risk both atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and mortality,” recalls Donna K. Arnett, former president of the American Heart Association (2012-2013) and dean and professor of the department of epidemiology at the University of Kentucky School of Public Health, who was not involved. in the study-. We’ve also seen that getting more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or more than 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity each week can further reduce a person’s risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, so it makes sense that getting those extra minutes of exercise may also decrease mortality.”
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