New Study Challenges the Relationship between Exercise and Longevity
New research conducted by Scandinavian scientists has suggested that exercise may not be the key to longevity, contrary to popular belief. The study, which spanned over a 45-year period in Finland, analyzed the data of more than 11,000 same-sex twins.
Participants in the study self-reported their daily physical activity and were then categorized into four groups based on their activity levels. Surprisingly, the study found that those who exercised the least were about 20 percent more likely to die over the span of 45 years than those who were regularly active.
However, the researchers also discovered that when controlling for other influential lifestyle factors such as education, BMI, smoking, and alcohol consumption, the increased risk of death for the sedentary group dropped to a mere seven percent compared to the active group. This suggests that exercise alone may not be the determining factor in longevity, but rather healthier overall lifestyles might contribute to longer lives.
The study also identified a phenomenon wherein biological aging was either accelerated or decelerated depending on individuals’ exercise habits. Those who exercised too little and those who exercised too much were found to experience an accelerated biological aging process. In fact, the most physically active participants were found to be approximately 1.8 years “older” than those who engaged in a more moderate amount of physical activity.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that individuals who engage in regular exercise may not necessarily live longer solely due to their workout routines. Instead, it is likely that they generally lead healthier lives, which may contribute to their extended lifespans.
Nevertheless, experts warn that the filtering of BMI in the study may have skewed some of the impacts of exercise. BMI can be influenced by physical activity, which might have potentially affected the results and their interpretation.
As the scientific understanding of human health and longevity continues to evolve, it is crucial to consider all factors holistically rather than attributing longevity solely to exercise.