Other than the obvious reasons that you burn more calories and lose weight faster, vigorous exercise seems to help you live longer. Let’s define vigorous exercise since it may have been awhile since you’ve done any. It’s the kind where you sweat, get red in the face and breathe hard – and that’s for more than a couple of minutes.
In a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine, Australian researchers followed more than 200,000 adults over age 45 for more than six years. Those who did jogging, aerobics or competitive tennis with 30 percent of their weekly workouts being vigorous exercise had a mortality rate that was nine to 13 percent lower than those who did moderate exercise, like casual swimming, social tennis, or household chores.
The lead author, Klaus Gebel from James Cook University’s Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention said, “The benefits of vigorous activity applied to men and women of all ages, and were independent of the total amount of time being active.”
“The results indicate that whether or not you are obese, and whether or not you have heart disease or diabetes, if you can manage some vigorous activity it could offer other significant benefits of longevity.”
Furthermore, studies have found that higher intensity workouts may blunt immunosenescence in older adults. In other words, you can boost your immune system and fight off diseases and viruses, such as Covid 19, more easily. More and more doctors and scientists are now saying that exercise may be the most important lifestyle intervention you can add.
Once again, we’ve been led astray by faulty reporting. Remember when we were told we needed to do long, slower workouts to burn fat? Now we hear its interval training that does the trick. Sounds like spiking the heart rate up to lose weight might be right in light of this study.
Gebel goes on to say, “Our research indicates that even small amounts of vigorous activity could help reduce your risk of early death.” But heed his warning. “For those with medical conditions, or older people in general, and for those who have never done any vigorous activity or exercise before, it’s always important to talk to a doctor first.”
Assuming your doctor gives you the go ahead:
If you are a walker (with good knees) throw in enough jogging that will make you sweat.
If you bicycle, sign up for a spin class to get your heart rate up.
If you swim, find someone to race against.
If you like to dance, take a Zumba class.
Those will definitely get you breathing harder and here’s to adding healthy years to our lives!