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Don't Just Sit There, Do Something! Part 16 Mortality

Posted Nov 14 2012 3:00am
Remember that story about the blind men and the elephant?  They were each trying to describe the elephant by what they touched but because they were blind, they could not grasp the concept that the elephant was greater than the sum of part which they'd grabbed individually.  Likewise, in this series of analyses, I've surprised myself at how much others are looking at how exercise & physical activity affects our health, regardless of whether we consider basic actigraphy , cardiorespiratory fitness , sitting time , television viewing time , etc, all variations on a theme.

So it should come as no surprise that in a meta-analysis of 6 prospective cohort studies published in PLoS Medicine last week , the authors concluded that more physical activity during one's leisure time was linked to greater life expectancy and thus lower mortality.  The authors analyzed data from 654,827 participants 21-90yo over a decade on average.  Compared to no physical activity, achieving 0.1-3.74 metabolic equivalent hours per week (MET-h/wk) was associated w/almost 2yrs greater life expectancy.  This measly amount of physical activity derives from brisk walking for up to 75min/wk, just half the recommended 150min/wk of moderate intensity exercise.

If you wanted to imitate the great chef, Emeril Lagasse, and kick it up a notch, BAM! achieving 22.5+MET-h/wk was linked to 4.5yrs greater life expectancy compared to no physical activity at all.  To achieve this level, all you'd need to do was walk briskly for 450+min/wk or just over an hour/d.  That's not asking too much, is it?  That still leaves you w/another 23hrs of which you can sleep away 6-8hrs & work 8hrs, leaving you w/7-9hrs to do what you want to do (just don't spend it watching TV!).

So don't just sit there, do something!  Lower your mortality and risk of chronic kidney disease, disability, dementia, depression, etc.

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