I could talk all day about all the positive health benefits of exercise. It reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, and mental deterioration well into old age. However, at the end of the day, all of these different benefits will culminate as one thing: A longer life span, and a better quality of life throughout your extra years.
The World Health Organization and the CDC both agree that healthy adults should engage in 2.5 hours of brisk walking a week. This amounts to a grand total of 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week. That may sound like a lot, but a recent study has proven that getting the full, recommended amount of exercise will gain an average of 3.4 years. Or to think about it in even simpler terms, “There are almost 9,000 hours in a year. Five hours a week is 260 hours a year—to get an extra 30,000 hours of life” (The Scientific American).
Don’t think you have the time for 30 minutes of exercise during the week? The more vigorous the exercise, the more effective it is, and also the less time you need to spend exercising. 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, or 15 minutes every weekday, will have the same effect.
The good news about exercising doesn’t stop there. It was also demonstrated that leading an active lifestyle, and exercising regularly has more of a positive impact on one’s lifespan than your weight. Overweight people who stayed active lived on average 3.1 years longer than inactive people of a normal weight. So it doesn’t matter what your size is, what matters is how active you are!
When it comes to exercise, as I always say, anything is better than nothing. Even doing less than the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise still resulted in positive health benefits. Those who exercised half as much as the daily recommended amount of exercise still experienced an lifespan increase of 1.8 years.
The bottom line is that exercise is hands down the most effective, beneficial step you can take to take care of your health. So what are you waiting for? You can start today, and take charge of your health and overall quality of life.