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Exercise and Health

A recent study led by Dr Arden Pope, from Brigham Young University, aimed to determine if there was a link between exercise and reduced mortality rates.

The study was based on already available data, taken between 1997 and 2014 for the US National Health Interview Survey . The team linked this data to the national death index for 2015 onwards and created a list of 416,420 adults across the US.

The available data was categorised into roughly four groups of exercise type:

  1. No exercise
  2. Moderate Aerobic
  3. Vigorous Aerobic
  4. Muscle Strengthening

The data was controlled for factors such as age, sex, race, education, smoking status, BMI and other topics.


Compared to the first, no exercise cohort, groups 2 and 3 showed a “significant mortality reduction”. The benefits started from just a single hour of aerobic exercise per week.  Above 3 hours per week, the benefits levelled off.  The results cut across the sexes and age groups.

For the fourth group of muscle building exercisers, an even greater reduction in mortality rates were observed. Again the benefits started to show at 1 hour per week and in this case, ceased making improvements at seven hours per week.


Even low levels of moderate exercise correlated to an improved mortality result. Men and women, old and young all showed a benefit to mortality when engaging in exercise.  Although muscle building activity showed the largest impact, any exercise is better than none.

  • Take the stairs
  • Walk / cycle instead of taking the car for short journeys
  • Gardening, washing the car
  • Cleaning windows
  • Walking

We can all find at least one hour a week to exercise and the evidence shows that it will help you live a longer life.

Paper Citation

Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine


After exercise

You don’t need to overdo it!

Walking to the shops

Get into the walking habit

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