Staying active and losing weight, if you’re overweight, are both important factors in long-term health. Of all the factors that contribute to long life, new research is suggesting that staying active is far and away the most effective.
The question itself, however, may be a little misleading. Since staying active, along with proper nutrition and rest, is interconnected with losing weight, you don’t really need to focus on one to the detriment of the other. The YOU%2B system is built on the ways each system in our body is integrated with the rest.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge analyzed data on over 334,000 people gathered as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study in order to compare how different health factors affected mortality rates. Their work was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
After looking at the health factors and habits of so many people for an average of about 12 years per person, scientists led by Professor Ulf Ekelund discovered that just a little exercise each day, even as little as a 20-minute walk, could be enough to at least move someone from being highly inactive to moderately inactive. With that little bit of activity, though, subjects decreased their chances of dying early by 16 to 30%.
While that may be the most dramatic difference, every group experienced improvements in mortality rate with an active lifestyle. It’s amazing how positively our bodies respond to just a little bit of exercise.
“This is a simple message: just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits for people who are physically inactive,” says Dr. Ekelund, “Although we found that just 20 minutes would make a difference, we should really be looking to do more than this. Physical activity has many proven health benefits and should be an important part of our daily life.”
While an active lifestyle is surely the most important means of extending life, it is also essential to recognize how much of a role being overweight can play in shortening lifespan. Studies have shown that just being overweight is enough to take a full 3 years off your life.
While dieting can help short-term goals, maintaining a proper approach is how to keep yourself at a weight you want. A nutrition plan allows you to balance out what you eat to find the ideal range of tasty and healthy (with a little room left over for the occasional decadence).
Beyond nutrition, though, you can help yourself lose weight and help prevent gaining any back by getting the right amount of quality sleep and exercise. In this case, exercise means a combination of exercises, including strength training for men and women, to achieve the optimal results. Whether your goals are weight loss or simply to be more active, you’ll do better in both cases with a combination of Fitness, Nutrition and Sleep.
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