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Run for your life: tweaking the weekly physical activity volume for longevity
  1. Johannes Burtscher1,
  2. Martin Burtscher2
  1. 1Laboratory of Molecular and Chemical Biology of Neurodegeneration, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. 2Sport 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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