Exercise less and live longer?


In all matters related to your health, moderation is key. And when it comes to exercise, this is also true.

When it comes to exercise, the usual towing line is that the more, the harder, the better. It’s no secret that the fitness industry promotes excessive exercise and so-called “health experts” keep warning us against “irregular” exercise.

According to their thinking, exercising only a few times a week (or whenever you can) could lead to muscle strain and heart attacks.

Don’t break too much of a sweat

A new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, just debunked all of this “expert” advice. Turns out, people who exercise a minimal amount each week actually reap big rewards.

For this study, researchers followed 63,000 adults for about 20 years. The participants’ average age at the study’s outset was 58 years. Those who only worked out once or twice a week (totalling to approximately two and a half hours of exercise) had a 30 per cent lower mortality rate compared to those who didn’t exercise at all.

It got even more interesting when researchers looked at the results of a group they labelled “insufficient” exercisers (totalling to one hour of exercise per week). They had a 31 per cent lower mortality rate compared to those who didn’t exercise at all.

So — what about those who exercised three or more times per week (totalling to about seven and a half hours)? That’s nearly an entire work day of exercise!

Well, those participants had a 35 per cent lower mortality risk compared to non-exercisers. That’s only a four per cent improvement over the one hour per week group. Or about one-half of one per cent for each extra hour.

So, why break a massive sweat 5 times a week, if the benefits of excessive exercise don’t increase the more you do it?

It seems to me that all you need to do is to make sure that you get a total of two and a half hours per week of moderate exercise (like walking) or one hour with more strenuous exercise.

More than that amount won’t help your health or longevity, according to this study. But it will increase your risk of injury. It will also put a strain on your joints, heart, kidneys, and GI tract, according to the latest research.

Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


“Association of ‘Weekend Warrior’ and Other Leisure Time Physical Activity Patterns With Risks for All-Cause, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer Mortality,” JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(3):335-342

Print Friendly, PDF & Email