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Want to Live Longer? Diet and Exercise Are Key

Do you exercise regularly but eat unhealthy food? Or does a healthy diet fuel your sedentary lifestyle? According to a recent study, healthy exercise and diet are vital to living longer. However, you’ll need to incorporate the two to make the most of your years. While diet and exercise can individually help you live longer, the most significant change comes from a combination of both. In this Pacific Prime article, we dive into how regular exercise can extend your life – especially when paired with a healthy diet.

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Lowering the risk of morality through diet and exercise

People who exercise regularly and eat healthily have the lowest risk of mortality says The British Journal of Sports Medicine. Additionally, the harms of a poor diet cannot be remedied by more exercise. This is a far cry from claims surrounding workout routines that aim to convince us that working out can counteract unhealthy food choices. Regular physical activity and eating well are in fact crucial for “reducing the risk of mortality from all causes”.

A closer look at the study’s findings

The study involved tracking and evaluating the diet and exercise of 346,627 individuals over an 11-year period, including:

  • The amount of exercise completed in an average week
  • The intensity of their physical activity
  • Eating habits

13,869 participants lost their lives during the course of the study – with heart disease and adiposity-related cancers taking 2,650 and 4,522 participants’ lives, respectively. Researchers found that regular physical activity of any kind was linked with a reduced risk of dying. Moreover, participants who exercised and had healthy eating habits had the lowest risk of mortality.

Melody Ding, the study’s lead author, told Healthline that individuals who made poor food choices yet exercised had a noticeably lower risk of dying than those who made poor food choices and were inactive. Likewise, the most risk reduction comes from doing both things correctly. If you’re looking to reduce your overall mortality risk, regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet cannot be overlooked.

This may be shocking to some, as advertisements and media have us believe that a vigorous workout regimen or the “right exercise” means people can eat what they want – when that simply isn’t the case. Exercise does not outrun a poor diet.

The benefits of regular exercise and healthy eating

It’s no secret that diet and exercise have a whole range of health benefits, especially when it comes to preventing an array of chronic diseases. If you’re wondering how can exercise help you live longer, regular physical activity is known to:

  • Boost your brain health
  • Lower your risk of disease
  • Strengthen muscles and bones

Similarly, a healthy diet can:

  • Improve immunity
  • Increase your longevity
  • Reduce your risk of chronic disease

Diet and exercise both play an important role in minimizing the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, as well as many types of cancer. Their combination is beneficial to a wide range of medical issues. Even though they are closely connected, a common belief is that more exercise can counteract the effects of an unhealthy diet. While previous research suggests that high levels of physical activity can compensate for a poor diet in the short term, data on the long-term effects are lacking.

You might need to exercise even more than you thought

If living longer is the aim of the game, then you might have to spend much more time exercising than previously recommended. While current guidelines do come with benefits, a new study has found that far more physical activity has a greater impact on lowering mortality risks.

At present, the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity per week at a minimum. People who doubled to quadrupled that amount witnessed a 26-31% reduction in mortality risk. Similarly, individuals who doubled to quadrupled the 75 minutes of intense activity recommendation had a 21-23% reduction. It’s worth noting that people who met the activity guidelines also had benefits, with a 20-21% and 19% reduction in mortality risk, respectively.

The greatest benefit in reducing mortality risk happens when a person’s weekly performance involves:

  • 150 and 300 minutes of vigorous physical activity,
  • 300 and 600 minutes of moderate physical activity,
  • Or a combination of the two.

Live longer by making smart choices

By now you’re probably wondering what are the best exercises for longevity. Cardio is great for your heart (e.g. brisk walking, jump roping, and swimming) while strength training is excellent for your bones (i.e. weight-bearing exercises like squats). Moreover, flexibility and mobility are integral for proper balance and movement, and should not be neglected.

Whether you’re improving your fitness regime, cleaning up your diet, or (hopefully) both, remember that it’s helpful to set small goals instead of trying to tackle everything at once. By taking things one step at a time, you’ll find it easier to make changes that truly last and make a difference.

Another smart choice you can make when it comes to your health is securing health insurance with a reputable broker like Pacific Prime. Whether you’re looking for expat health insurance, international health insurance, or other health insurance plans, we have everything you need and more. Our 20+ years of industry experience gives us the knowledge and expertise to help you find the best plan for your needs and budget. On top of that, you’ll get access to our expert advisors and value-added services at no additional cost compared to going straight to an insurer.

Contact us to learn more about your insurance options or to get a free quote today.

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​​Jantra Jacobs is a content writer at Pacific Prime. On a typical workday, she writes and edits articles, guides, and anything else word-related. She loves creating content that is both easy to understand and enjoyable to read.In her free time, she’s likely to be writing poetry and prose, geeking out on her latest interests, reading, or practicing yoga.

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