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Exercise may not be the key to living longer — it might even be aging you faster

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Survival of the fittest? Maybe.

Exercise might not be the key to longevity, according to new research — in fact, too much moving around could even be accelerating the aging process in our bodies, Scandinavian scientists have revealed.

The ambitious study on the oft-discussed subject has yet to be peer-reviewed, but recently won a national sports medicine prize in Finland, where the research was conducted over a 45-year period.

Multiple studies have previously confirmed that those who exercise more live longer and healthier lives.

This time however, researchers at the University of Jyvaskyla found that physical activity might just be a small part of the larger picture and in some cases may have negative health impacts.

To conduct the study, more than 11,000 Finnish same-sex twins were analyzed between 1975 to 2020.

The participants self-reported the time and intensity of their daily physical activity and were categorized into four groups: sedentary, moderately active, active and highly active.

Overall the study found that those who exercised the least were about 20 percent more likely to die over the 45 years than those who were regularly active.
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Overall they found that those who exercised the least were about 20 percent more likely to die over the 45 years than those who were regularly active.

However, when they filtered for lifestyle factors including education, body mass index (BMI), smoking and alcohol consumption that number dropped significantly.

Then those in the sedentary group were only seven percent more likely to die compared to those in the active group with “no additional benefits provided” by higher levels of exercise.

As the age-old saying goes, “Everything in moderation.”

The researchers concluded that those who exercise may not live longer because of their workouts but because they generally live healthier lives. NDABCREATIVITY – stock.adobe.com

The study showed that biological aging accelerated for those who exercised too little and too much.

Those who were the most physically active were about 1.8 years “older” than those who did a more modest amount of physical activity.

The researchers concluded that those who exercise may not live longer because of their workouts — but because they generally live healthier lives.

While the amount of time that each group was active was not immediately apparent, the World Health Organization recommends that adults aged 18 to 64 should do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week.

Dr. George Savva, a senior research scientist at the Quadram Institute, a food and health research center in Norwich, England, told The Times of London that the focus on twins gave the Finnish study a “powerful research design.”

However, the expert warned that the researchers’ filtering for BMI, which can be altered by physical activity, may have skewed some of the impacts of exercise.




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