The key to a healthy life is everything in balance. Even an excess amount of a good thing can be dangerous. However, a new study published this past Friday says that there is one exception to that rule: exercise. The study found that any cardiovascular fitness routines help provide a longer and healthier life.
Of course, the notion that exercise is good for health may seem common sense, however, recently, researchers found that elite athletes along with others who partake in heavy exercises could have a higher risk of certain heart conditions than those on average. The symptoms include irregular heartbeats, thickened heart valves, and clogged arteries. Should these conditions occur, it could lead to an increase in the possibility of the athlete going into sudden cardiac death. That, along with other possible heart complications.
With this evidence in mind, some researchers thought any adverse effects from exercise follow a U-curve. This research means, either too much or too little activity can damage the heart, therefore, shortening your life. Most of the research previous relied on self-reported data. This data seemed to only look into the short-term health outcomes according to the researchers behind the current study.
For their research, the team analyzed long-term data from their medical center, the Cleveland Clinic. The researchers reviewed over 120,000 patients, whose average age is 53, and who took an exercise test on a treadmill at the clinic between the years 1994 and 2014. Through the test results, researchers were able to glean objective measures of the overall fitness of the subjects. With the additional help of medical and social security records, they could tell if and when the patients died.
New Research Examines U-Curve of Exercise Benefits
Of the 120,000 patients, nearly 13,500 had died by the end of 2017. According to the study authors, the more fit someone was, the less likely they were to have died earlier. Even when the benefits of exercise did begin to taper off, elite athletes only being in slightly better health than merely high-active people, research shows there to have been no upper limit of benefit.
While it isn’t much of a surprise, elite athletes tended to have longer lives than others on average. Compared to those with the lowest fitness, researchers estimated elite fitness to be associated with 80% reduction in the risk of death. Effects of elite exercising were found elevated in older people and those with higher blood pressure. That’s not to say, however, that exercise is only for those training for a marathon.
According to other studies, any level of regular exercise is a benefit to you in the long run. Not only does it help you live longer, but it also helps with the quality of your life through the end. The current study also shows that those with lower than average levels of fitness were more likely to have a longer life than those with the worst fitness. The authors estimate that poor fitness raises the risk of dying by the same degree as other large risk factors. These other factors include cardiovascular disease or smoking.
So while the more exercise you do, the better, know it’s OK only to do as much as you’re able.