Many different factors contribute to increasing mortality risk in a single individual. Genetics are extremely important, but lifestyle can play a much bigger role when it comes to eliminating risk of mortality. On one end, certain behaviors like alcohol and tobacco abuse can accelerate mortality, behaviors like consuming real food, managing stress and cardiovascular exercise can effectively reduce mortality risk. For many people, the difficulty is in finding moderation between extending life and eliminating pleasure.
Most people associate exercise with a healthy lifestyle. While the two are often intimately in twined, sometimes the particular benefits get lost in the fad of exercise. One benefit of exercise, cardio respiratory fitness (CRF), has long been associated with quality of life (QOL), but new research based on the testing of 69,858 individuals aged between 18 to 96 years found that higher CRF is also associated with decreased mortality risks, especially when it was combined with healthy behaviors.
The new research, out of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, found that individuals with a high risk factor score (calculated by measuring age, sex, HDL cholesterol and cholesterol levels, race, systolic blood pressure, smoking, blood pressure medication use and diabetes) and low levels of CRF had a “34% increase in future relative risk for death compared to people who had the lowest risk score and the highest fitness level,” (Steven Keteyian). Furthermore, it was found that, even with individuals that had a high risk factor score (less healthful traits / symptoms), high levels of CRF would reduce the risk of mortality.
While most people seem to understand that having a healthier heart is a good way to live longer with high QOL, understanding what improves CRF is becoming fuddled. Weightlifting and endurance training have drastically different impacts on the heart’s natural physiology. While current training trends blend cardio with lifting, making it difficult to decode what the cardiac future will be for certain exercise enthusiasts, the traditional approach to training finds that a certain extent of endurance style training would be required to obtain the optimal benefits found in the study.
However, the main conclusion here is that exercise can greatly reduce your risk of mortality. While focusing on cardio based training like bike / rowing intervals will arguably have the greatest effect, simply being active and moving about will benefit most individuals if properly applied. So if in doubt, get up and jump.
Risk Factor Calculator: http://tools.cardiosource.org/ASCVD-Risk-Estimator/