Study Finds Exercise Is More Important than Weight Loss for a Longer Life

·1-min read
Photo credit: Solovyova - Getty Images
Photo credit: Solovyova - Getty Images

Exercise. Diet. Diet. Exercise. They're both important if you want to live a full and healthy life, but according to a new study looking at the relationship between fitness, weight, heart health and longevity; it's exercise, not weight-loss, that is "consistently associated with greater reductions in mortality risk".

The study, published in iScience, found that exercise and improved fitness among sedentary and obese men and women lowered their risk of premature death by as much as 30 per cent, even if they didn’t lose weight.

"Many obesity-related health conditions are more likely attributable to low physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness rather than obesity per se. Epidemiological studies show that cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity significantly attenuate, and sometimes eliminate, the increased mortality risk associated with obesity." the study concluded.

For their study, Glenn Gaesser of Arizona State University in Phoenix and Siddhartha Angadi, a professor of education and kinesiology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, analysed data from over 200 meta-analyses, which pooled and analysed data from several previous studies, and individual studies.

While they ultimately found that exercise was the most significant factor in lowering the risk of premature death, they also noted the impact of weight loss, which lowered people's risk by about 16 per cent, but not across all studies.

"Compared head-to-head, the magnitude of benefit was far great from improving fitness than from losing weight," Gaesser wrote.

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