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Is exercise nearly as effective for longevity as we’ve been led to believe???


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this recent, not yet peer reviewed, study was very long term and used twins. Conclusion: exercise may be confounded with good health and healthier lifestyle! I personally have doubts about this because exercise in and of itself improves so many physiological factors. But the research appears to be well done except that none of these kinds of studies control well for so many variables. This one may be better than others, but I’m still skeptical.

Edited by Mike41
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Thanks Mike41.

A couple of issues jump out at me that may be skewing the results.

Setting aside the self-reporting accuracy arguments, it appears that the last report collected was in 1990. Presumably, that's just about the time of life when many start settling into a more sedentary lifestyle, and the most intense exercisers may be the ones that drop off more precipitously, for example, because they may be more prone to sustaining exercise-related injuries.

I don't see a diet adjustment, so you may have more Peter Attias among the heavy exercisers, who eat diets high in animal protein and fat in the belief that their heavy exercise regimen and muscle mass are the magic bullet of health. They may have higher cholesterol and chronic inflammation, for which the study doesn't appear to adjust.


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  • 1 month later...

This is one of the "unlisted" videos included in How Not To Age as part of the supplemental information materials. Some key points included:

  • Being active vs. sedentary lowers your risk of death 30%
  • Being in the top 90% of cardio-respiratory fitness increases life expectancy 5-6 years
  • Walking is one of the safest forms of physical activity
  • Exercise authorities tend to recommend what is achievable rather than what the science says is optimal (i.e. they don't recommend enough exercise)
  • Those in Sardinian Bluezones walked about 12 000 steps per day
  • The video concludes with a maximum longevity dose of walking 30 000 steps per day (I'm sure Dean would love this)... but I'm not sure I follow Dr. Greger's math on this


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Thanks for the video link, drewab. I am currently listening to the book, but have not watched any of the supplemental videos yet.

The math does look wonky, but I also should mention that terrain likely matters a lot as well.

Similarly to running, taking 5000 steps while quickly gaining 500 meters is different than the same 5000 steps walking around the mall.


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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/25/2024 at 7:21 AM, Dean Pomerleau said:

Nice video and great summary @drewab!

Regarding Dr Greger's faulty math. He says studies show ~90 minutes of exercise per day is optimal. At a brisk walking pace of 3.5mph, that 90min would be about 5.25 miles of walking. At about 2200 steps per mile, that would be about 11.5k steps per day, not 30k.

Thanks Dean! That is reassuring. I can’t imagine do 30,000 steps a day. I’d be exhausted to say the least. Personally I shoot for 8000 steps as walking exercise including a bit of jogging and brisk hill climbing. Add that to my regular activities and I’m sure I meet the 11,000 threshold.

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