Regular Exercise, the Top Daily Habit for a Longer Life: Experts

Regular Exercise

It may come as a surprise that the secret to a longer lifespan isn’t about adhering to a flawless daily regimen, following the latest diet craze, or relying on new miracle supplements. Rather, the path to a longer and healthier life can be simplified to just one habit. And the most wonderful aspect? It’s something you can seamlessly integrate into your everyday routine.

The evidence is clear: Regular exercise is the optimal strategy for enjoying a long and rewarding life. But how much exercise is necessary? According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended to partake in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week. A comprehensive 2018 study published in Circulation found that engaging in exercise exceeding these guidelines by two to four times led to a significantly reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Specifically, individuals who surpassed the recommended levels of exercise experienced a 26% to 31% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 28% to 38% lower risk of cardiovascular disease-related mortality.

“Exercise triggers beneficial adaptations that enhance indicators of longevity,” explains Destini Moody, RDN, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian and sports dietitian. “What’s particularly advantageous about exercise is its flexibility; you can adjust its parameters to target particular tissues, body systems, or energy systems. This adaptability makes it a convenient habit to accommodate fatigue, time limitations, coexisting health conditions, injuries, or personal objectives.”

Engaging in regular physical activity decreases your likelihood of chronic diseases. “Exercise can enhance various health indicators, such as blood pressure, grip strength, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, fasting blood glucose, resting heart rate, body composition, and hip-to-waist ratio, among others,” explains Mike Masi, CPT, a certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews. “These indicators either forecast the risk of heart disease and other health issues, or they are directly linked to overall mortality rates.”

But don’t solely rely on our assertion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), maintaining a regular exercise regimen reduces the likelihood of chronic conditions including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression and anxiety, dementia, and obesity.

Regular exercise contributes to better sleep quality and supports long-term health and longevity.

Consistent exercise is vital for improving sleep quality, thereby promoting longevity. Quality sleep is integral to optimal health and overall wellness, influencing cognitive function, appetite regulation, emotional resilience, and chronic disease risk. Studies indicate that individuals who engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise daily tend to sleep an average of 15 minutes longer than those who do not exercise. Moreover, physical activity can mitigate sleep disorders such as insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and sleep apnea.

Enhanced sleep quality enhances longevity, as emphasized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which highlights that quality sleep can enhance brain function and mood. Conversely, consistently insufficient quality sleep elevates the risk of various chronic conditions, such as stroke, dementia, and heart disease.

Incorporate social interactions into your exercise routine to further enhance your longevity. A robust social life and meaningful relationships are frequently underestimated contributors to long-term health. A study conducted in 2024 revealed that nurturing social connections fosters trust and community, leading to an extended lifespan. Fortunately, exercise presents an ideal opportunity for fostering strong social bonds. Consider joining a fitness class or workout group, or enlist an exercise partner. This approach can assist in maintaining consistency with your fitness objectives while bolstering your social connections for a longer and healthier life.

“In an ideal scenario, your daily exercise routine should facilitate social interaction, as it enhances emotional well-being,” suggests Masi. “Additionally, consider exercising outdoors to gain exposure to sunlight, which provides additional benefits for sleep and helps maintain a consistent and healthy circadian rhythm.”

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