Exercise and LongevityExercise and physical activity are well understood to pose health benefits such as helping to control weight, prevent or manage health conditions, improve mood, increase energy levels and encourage quality sleep.

I found myself reading an article about another potential benefit which I will share: the article was about whether exercise or increased activity impacts longevity of life, in short as with many studies the evidence so far appears to be conflicted; without going into too much detail (yawn) observational studies are suggested to have consistently shown a connection between increased activity levels and longevity across varying populations, epidemiological estimates suggest solving the problem of inactivity may produce an effect similar to eradication of smoking or obesity, with an increased life expectancy of 0.68 years, while randomised control trials have not demonstrated a causal relationship between level of activity and mortality. The problem appears to be due to evidence being open to misinterpretation and study limitations, selection bias and a reverse causation were put forward: we know exercise reduces risk of obesity but what if obesity restricts potential to participate in activity.

There are clearly a lot of varying factors that relate to activity and longevity which all need to be taken into account when studied. All the time while reading I kept thinking even if it does increase longevity it’s only 0.68 years -just over six months is the estimated measurable gain of mortality from exercise or activity and it seemed like such a small amount. But then I reflected on the reverse causation: what if obesity restricts potential to participate in activity, 0.68 years may not seem like a lot quantitatively but it’s not just the extra six months that’s important but what can be gained qualitatively in all the other years that precede -and that goes beyond measure.


 

Editorial by FitFarms Health Team

Image credit: 16films.com