Regular exercise is good for our bodies and minds—we've known that for a while now—but is there an ideal amount of exercise that provides optimal benefits?
A common claim is that a minimum of three days a week, 30 minutes each day is a good baseline for a healthy lifestyle. But science is changing all the time and those who have been logging major hours in their sneakers might not be best off after all.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology surveyed almost 1,100 joggers and nearly 4,000 non-exercisers that were considered healthy in 2001. Last year they checked their names against death records and, unsurprisingly, found that joggers lived longer than those that did not exercise.
But when they compared light, slow joggers with their quicker, more intense counterparts, researchers found that those that usually jogged at a slow pace outlived the faster runners. According to them, for a long life people should aim to exercise between 1 and 2.4 hours a week, but no more than that.
Though this study begins to examine the upper threshold of beneficial exercise, this certainly isn’t the final word. For one, the sample size of fast runners was rather small—less than 100, and the study did not take cause of death into account. That means that there is still more work to do on this front, but one thing is for sure: even a little bit of exercise is better than none at all.