A new study recently reveals what we’ve all been confident about for quite some time: fitness improves longevity. The research was presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session.
The study findings showed that fitness improves longevity even among people who face other health risks. These other health risks include cardiovascular disease and yet patients will still experience far greater survival rates when they are fit at aged 70 or higher.
Fitness Improves Longevity: What This Means to You?
Johns Hopkins Medicine assistant professor of medicine at the division of cardiology, Seamus Whelton, MD, MPH and his colleagues focused their research on finding out if fitness improves longevity among all levels and extremes of cardiovascular disease risk among older adults.
What many are taking from the very positive results is that if fitness improves longevity among people who are already at least 70 years old, then it likely presents astounding health benefits among those who are younger and have not yet developed severe health risk factors.
In this study they found that not only is it that fitness improves longevity, but an individual’s fitness level can also help to predict his or her cardiovascular risk outcome and total mortality. Therefore, while Whelton explained that it remains important to take the right steps to control diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol, improved fitness can make a difference not only in the risk of those conditions but also to overall lifespan.
How Was the Research Conducted?
The team of researchers examined patient data from 6,509 people with a minimum age of 70 years without cardiovascular disease from the Henry Ford Exercise Testing (FIT) Project.
The patients took part in a treadmill stress test that was physician referred. They were then divided into three different groups. The first had less than 6 metabolic equivalents of task (METs; least fit). The second group had 6 to 9.9 METs (moderately fit). The third group had 10 or more METs (most fit). The traditional cardiovascular disease factors were summed from zero to a minimum of three.
Over a period of nine years of the study investigating if fitness improves longevity, there were 2,526 patient deaths identified during follow-ups. The average age of death was 75 years and 52 percent were women. The mortality rate per 1,000 person years was about 25 for the most fit group and was around 55 for the least fit group.