In tonight's HealthierMe, we all know physical activity is good for us, and new research out now suggests people who exercise can extend their lives by significant amounts of time.
Research suggests people who exercise live longer, and people who don't die younger.
But how much exercise adds how many more years of life?
To find out, U.S. researchers sifted through a huge pool of data and compared body mass index and exercise levels with death rates. Their conclusion? Walking briskly for 75 minutes a week was associated with almost 2 more years of life, and brisk walking for 450 minutes a week (just over an hour a day) was associated with 4.5 more years of life.
How does "brisk walking" translate to other types of activity?
According to Dr. Mark Tarnopolsy of McMaster University, "as a good rule of thumb, if you're taking time, and you have to think about your breathing, and you feel that you're warm and sweaty afterwards, that's the type of activity we're looking for to get these health benefits."
There's also a health cost for opting out of physical activity. The study found that someone who is inactive and obese could face a loss of about 7 years of life compared to an active, normal weight person.
But even a person of normal weight could still face a loss of almost 5 years of life if inactive.
That's a grim finding, because studies show that most Canadians don't meet even the minimum recommended exercise levels.
For a lot of people, physical activity isn't something they enjoy, and it's not something that's a priority for them, so motivation becomes a big, big issue.
Yet as more evidence suggests exercise changes the body's basic metabolic systems -- repairing the damage of aging and possibly preventing cancer and other diseases -- it means that even small choices like choosing stairs over taking the escalator could ultimately be a life or death decision.