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What’s the best dose of exercise for a longer life?

By Marcus Santer


It’s very wet here today…

The kind of wet where I had to suit up in waterproof boots, trousers and jacket just for Louis walk.


Come rain, flood or snow Louis’s got to have his walks which is…

… Great.

How come?

Because it means 99 days out of a 100 I get at least an hour of walking in the Devon countryside.

And it all adds towards my recommended dose of exercise.

What’s that you say?

There’s a recommended dose?

C’mon, you know there is.

Most governments recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week to enhance and maintain good health.

But there’s uncertainty as to whether this 150 minutes is:

The minimum recommended dose


The ideal dose.

Yesterday whilst researching new material for May’s ZEN+ Journal I came across an interesting study called:

Leisure time physical activity and mortality: A detailed pooled analysis of the dose-response relationship.

Hey, like I’m fond of saying…

I read this stuff so you don’t have to =)

It focused on findig the answer to the question:

What’s the ideal dose
of exercise for a long life?

Good question.

Researchers with the National Cancer Institute collected data about people’s exercise habits from six large, ongoing health surveys.

All of which allowed them to gather data from over 661,000 adults – most of them middle-aged.

At one end of the spectrum you had those who didn’t exercise at all and at the other end you had those folk who exercised for 10 times the 150 minutes recommendation each week.


That’s 25 hours a week of moderate exercise =)

And then of course you had everyone else in-between.

Comparing this group with 14 year’s worth of death records here’s what they found:

Here are the three main conclusions:

  1. Some exercise is better than no exercise for lowering your risk of early death
  2. 450 minutes of moderate exercise per week – a bit more than a 1 hour walk a day – gives the biggest health bang for your exercise buck.
  3. There’s no evidence of harm from high activity levels. Even if you’re doing more than 10 times the 150 minute recommendation.

So get up get out and:

Or whatever else floats your boat.

Just move your body…


I’m going to get back to writing about my Healthy Ageing Pyramid.

Full details in May’s ZEN+ Journal.

Bye for now


P.S. Don’t be put off by the 150 minutes and above recommendation for weekly moderate exercise.


Some exercise is better than none and can still give you worthwhile benefits.


… Exercise doesn’t have to be what you think it is.

For example:

I do an hour of household chores every Sunday and all that:

And so on is quite a work out.

It all adds up.

Bottom line: your body has evolved to move.

So move it our lose it.