A large study at the National Health Research Institutes in Zhunan, Taiwan published in The Lancet found that as little as 15 minutes of physical activity a day can reduce the risk of dying by 14% and increase lifespan by three years.

More exercise led to greater life gains. Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise further reduced all-cause death rates by 4%. This trend continued until a person was exercising for 100 minutes a day.

High intensity exercise though, is the gold standard for fitness… and longevity. It was recently endorsed by the European Society of Cardiology. A study conducted among cyclists in Copenhagen, Denmark showed it’s the relative intensity, and not the duration of cycling, which is most important in relation to all-cause mortality. It’s even more pronounced for coronary heart disease mortality. The study concluded that men with fast intensity cycling survived 5.3 years longer, and men with average intensity 2.9 years longer than men with slow cycling intensity. For women, the figures were 3.9 and 2.2 years longer, respectively.

Exercise reduces disease and death dramatically for all major progressive diseases. According to a study involving over 13,000 participants cited by Ray Kurzweil in The Future of Aging, the overall death rate for moderate exercisers was 60% less than the sedentary group–and the high fitness group scored much better. Yet some 70% of Americans do not participate in any type of physical activity.

As Dona Folk, my close friend and breast cancer survivor will tell you, exercise can also treat serious diseases such as cancer. A new report issued by Macmillan Cancer Support argues that exercise should be part of standard cancer care. It recommends all patients getting cancer treatment should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for two and a half hours every week.

A previous Harvard Medical School study found that breast cancer patients who exercise moderately for three to five hours a week cut their odds of dying from cancer by about half. In fact, any amount of weekly exercise increased a patient’s odds of surviving breast cancer. This benefit also remained constant regardless of whether women were diagnosed early on or after their cancer had spread. Finally, research has found that exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence by about 40 percent.

Research has also shown that exercise can reduce your risk of dying from prostate cancer by up to 30 percent.

If you have cancer or any other chronic disease, tailor your exercise routine to your individual scenario, taking into account your stamina and current health. Always listen to your body, and if you feel you need a break, take time to rest. But even exercising for just a few minutes a day is better than not exercising at all.

Exercise is critical to help dodge or reduce diabetes as well as most other diseases. According to the American Diabetes Association, exercising moderately for only thirty minutes a day coupled with a 5-10% reduction in body weight resulted in an astonishing 58% reduction in diabetes. They also report that 90% of all people with diabetes are overweight.

Any exercise that gets the heart pumping may even reduce the risk of dementia and slow the condition’s progression once it starts, reported a Mayo Clinic study published in the September 2011 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Long Life,
David Kekich

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