Lace up your sneakers to outrun an early death. Logging at least 150 minutes of exercise per week and keeping a normal weight can add 7.2 years to your life, reports a study published in the journal PLOS Medicine.
Researchers examined the physical activity levels and BMIs of nearly 650,000 people in a combined analysis of six long-term studies, and found that after 10 years, physical activity extended life across the board.
In fact, the researchers found that even if youre overweight, brisk walking for up to 75 minutes per week can add 1.8 years (on average) to your life expectancy.
This data really underscore just how important physical activity is for health and for longevity, says lead study author Steven Moore, Ph.D., a National Cancer Institute research fellow.
The big takeaway: Even if you regularly hit the gym and dont drop a ton of pounds, breaking a sweat still benefits you in the long run, Moore says.
On the flip side, just because the scale says youre skinny, it doesnt automatically mean youre healthy. The data showed that being inactive but still maintaining a normal weight was actually associated with 3.1 fewer years of life, says Moore.
Whatgives? Exercise may extend your life expectancy by helping your body stave off fatal diseases, he says. But without it, a slim body can turn into a sick body.