Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Dose–response association of aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity with mortality: a national cohort study of 416 420 US adults


Objectives To investigate the dose–response association of aerobic physical activity (PA) and muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) with all-cause mortality.

Methods National Health Interview Survey data (1997–2014) were linked to the National Death Index through 2015, which produced a cohort of 416 420 US adults. Cox proportional-hazard models were used to estimate HRs and 95% CIs for the associations of moderate aerobic PA (MPA), vigorous aerobic PA (VPA) and MSE with mortality risk. Models controlled for age, sex, race-ethnicity, income, education, marital status, survey year, smoking status, body mass index and chronic conditions.

Results Relative to those who engaged in no aerobic PA, substantial mortality risk reduction was associated with 1 hour/week of aerobic PA (HR: 0.85, 95% CI: 0.83 to 0.86) and levelled off at 3 hours/week of aerobic PA (0.73, 0.71 to 0.75). Similar results were observed for men and women and for individuals younger and older than 60 years. MSE conferred additional mortality risk reduction at 1 time/week (0.89, 0.81 to 0.97) and appeared no longer beneficial at 7 times/week (0.99, 0.94 to 1.04).

Conclusion The minimum effective dose of aerobic PA for significant mortality risk reduction was 1 hour/week of MPA or VPA, with additional mortality risk reduction observed up to 3 hours/week. For older adults, only small decreases in mortality risk were observed beyond this duration. Completing MSE in combination with aerobic PA conferred additional mortality risk reduction, with a minimum effective dose of 1–2 times/week.

  • Exercise
  • Physical activity
  • Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Weight lifting

Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. De-identified National Health Interview Survey data are publicly available on the NCHS website (For example, data for 2014 is found at the following URL:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.