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Run for your life: tweaking the weekly physical activity volume for longevity
  1. Johannes Burtscher1,
  2. Martin Burtscher2
  1. 1 Laboratory of Molecular and Chemical Biology of Neurodegeneration, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. 2 Sport Science, Medical Section, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Professor Martin Burtscher, Sport Science, Medical Section, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck A-6020, Austria; Martin.burtscher{at}

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There is nothing better than exercise but more exercise.

Regular physical activity (PA) and high cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF: aerobic capacity, VO2 max) reduce all-cause mortality even after adjusting for relevant confounders.1 2 Large-scale studies indicate an almost linear relationship between increasing CRF and longevity, with no signs of an upper limit.3 It remains less clear which PA volumes are optimal for a long life. Public health guidelines recommend a minimum of 150–300 min moderate intensity aerobic PA or 75–150 min vigorous intensity aerobic PA per week to induce general health benefits.4

How much bang can you get for a PA buck?

Dr Hannah Arem and colleagues, using pooled data from six studies in the USA and Europe (including 661 137 adults), showed that meeting PA guidelines was associated with a large longevity benefit.5 And there were even further improvements until the benefit for longevity reached a threshold at a level 3–5 times higher (450–750 min/week) than the minimum recommendations, without adverse effects in those performing PA at ≥10 times that minimum. The maximum all-cause mortality reduction was almost 40% without relevant differences between …

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  • Contributors Both authors contributed equally.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests Both JB and MB believe in the health benefits of PA and they aim to accumulate 700 min of moderate to vigorous PA weekly.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.