Want To Live Longer?

It probably goes without saying (is not necessary to say) that active people live longer than sedentary (spending a lot of time sitting down, not moving or exercising) people. Thanks to three recent research studies, we now know a little more about what and how much we need to do to live longer.

The first study followed (paid attention to) 7500 people in England for ten years. Every week the people being studied recorded (wrote down) the number of hours of activity and level of intensity (amount of energy required) for each activity – mild (using a small amount of energy), moderate, or strenuous (using a lot of energy).

Researchers found that any kind of activity increases life expectancy (length of time people are expected to live) and that more strenuous activities increase life expectancy the most.

The second study, in Denmark, followed 5100 bicycle riders for 18 years. Every week riders recorded how many hours they rode and how strenuous their rides were. Riders who rode regularly and rode harder (with more energy), lived four or five years longer than casual riders.

Finally, researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the U.S. found that people who followed the government’s recommendation – 150 minutes of moderate activity, such as brisk (full of energy) walking, per week – lived almost three-and-one-half years longer than sedentary people.

The NCI researchers also made two other interesting discoveries: first, overweight people lived longer with moderate exercise, even if they didn’t lose weight; and second, people who exercise at a low level (10 minutes of walking per day) added almost two years of life expectancy. Even a little bit of activity helps!

The government’s recommendation comes from the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine. They recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate activity five days per week to become and remain healthy.

But, you ask, what’s a moderate activity? When you’re doing a moderate activity, you’ll be able to talk while you’re doing the activity. If you’re doing a strenuous activity, you’ll only be able to say a few words before you have to take a breath. If you want to know if the activity you’re doing is moderate or strenuous, try the “talk test.” Stop occasionally during the activity and try to recite (say something you know) a poem or song or talk to a friend. If you can do it easily, the activity is moderate; if you’re breathing too hard to do it easily, the activity is strenuous. The goal: moderate activities that are almost strenuous.

Any activity, or combination of activities, that increases your heart rate (how fast your heart beats) will help. People I know use brisk walking, jogging (to run slowly), bicycle riding, ballroom dancing, swimming, jumping rope, or hiking (a long walk in the mountains or countryside).

Which are you – active or sedentary? I try to be as active as possible. I ride my bicycle several days a week and work in my yard a lot. Both are moderate, and occasionally strenuous, activities.

Note: If you’re interested, the three studies I mention are described in more detail in Can Housework Help You Live Longer?

~ Warren Ediger – English tutor/coach and creator of Successful English, where you can find practical suggestions, such as How to read more: A lover’s guide, for better English.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

This entry was posted in Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Want To Live Longer?

  1. Vito says:

    Hey, everybody, hop you are doing well.

    Well, honestly it’s hard to determine the type of lifestyle I’m inclined to follow. Usually I’m overwhelmed with studying and other house chores and almost have no free time to get involved in doing sports, exercising and other brisk stuff like that I would do lately. You know what? Now I drop workout regularly, often miss necessary trainings in gym and deliberately eat as much as I can afford. A lot, apparently. And that food stuff is detrimental for my body I know, I’m really concerned about my getting fat and completely idle, with no muscles to show off and no girls to impress. However, despite my body is getting worse and my life – shorter (in case scientists and their surveys about health are true), I’m learning English very persistently and I’m really rapturous with it because my mind is growing broader, my intelligence is getting vaster and my dreams are coming true.

    Thank you very much for your great deeds and you projects that help people learn what they want faster and with more pleasure. Honor. Truly.

    Never throw in the towel, kind people, and have a great weekend.

  2. Dan says:

    Hello everyone.

    I put myself in the active tipe.
    In the sense that when I have to choose between taking a stair or the elevetor I use my legs. The same if I can avoid to drive, legs.

    Unfortunately, and I only have to thanks myself, recently I fell from a ladder and my knee hurts.

    In addition to walking as I got the chance I run most of my life for 20\30 minutes twice or more a week.
    I am stuck with my weight at 143,00 pounds or 65kg sine I was a teen.

    Lately, before my injury i was using this device called Kinect wich goes with a Xbox360. For those two or three people on the planet that still do not know what that is , it is a game consol. Microsoft.

    First time I thought this is stuff for kids. After trying it out I was stunned!
    I got it with a fitness game. I must say it is really well done the exercices are good and the device responds really well at my body.

    As if that was not enough, when you are online with the consol the Kinect has also ears. It has voice recognition.
    Wow! tecnology.. unbelivable, fantastic and terrific!

    The only problem is that where one keeps the TV there should be roomy enough.

    I also enjoy doing the homeworks. Like doing my bed, loadig the washing machine and trying out the programmes, cleaning the Windows, and so on. I love it!.

    Have a good day. Thanks.

  3. Dr. Lucy Tse says:

    Happy Birthday, Emiliano!

  4. Peter says:

    Dear warren,
    Good question
    Well,I walk long hours every day ,that is for sure.
    It is more of a brisk walk than jog
    On average, I walk 1hour and a half per day which is the distance between my place to the bus station. 45 minutes from home to the bus station ,and 45 minute from the bus station to home.
    Besides ,I run around at work. I m always on foot tending to customers ;dusting ;lugging bulky ,awkward boxes ;and doing general cleaning.

    How is it for being active? 🙂

    I do it almost everyday
    And on Sundays , I do some chores around the house. For example ,last week I rake all the leavs on the back and front yard.
    Are you saying I live 3 digit ,say, 105 or 110:))

    And ,on Saturdays evening I run some errands on my way back home from work.

    Well,I m crazy busy like all the time.
    You know what they say,” there is no rest for the wicked.” :))


    The nuisance :))

  5. Dan says:

    Yes! Happy Birthday!
    Chanting and clapping my hands in rhythm: Emi-liano, Emi-liano, Emi-liano….

  6. emiliano says:

    Thank you very much DEAR LUCY.

    It has been a very good day, I have seen my dear friend Camila.


  7. Bruno Aguiar says:

    Hello everybody! Once more, Fantastic article! Congratulations!
    I’m really glad to hear it! Even tough i got 2 different jobs and need to study English as hard as possible, i work out every single day!
    To get it done, i must wake up at 5 20 am to go to the gym and have my strenuous workout time (1:30 Hr/day)….So, i’ll live forever! kkkkk
    Actually, beeing healthy and happy is what really matters at the very end of our lifes!
    Do not create ExCUSES to not exercising……doing this you’re only deceiving yourself!
    Here is the explanation….if you really want something, even tough you don’t have time to do it, you will, definitely, find out a “free time” to do it!!…….
    So…… LET’S EXERCISE PEOPLE!!! Get out of the sofa and put you body in shape! START IT UP AND LIVE MORE!


  8. emiliano says:

    Dear Warren,
    by my part I have been always the sedentary type may be because I have living in a big city
    like Madrid where you lost a lot of time inside the subway going to work to the academy or to every place.

    I have never like to live a big city like Madrid but sometime life is so if you born here and your wife likes
    Madrid so much as Cuca did.

    In my time works were nearly for ever and if you get a nice confortable work like a bank or a big company
    it is really difficult to change your way of living.

    Even more, usually people buy a flat or a house instead of paying a rent, so once you have bought a flat
    and have twenty years or more of mortgage it is like a rope that fix you in the place.

    Despite that I always like to swim or bicycle, but bicycle in a city like this is really dangerous.

    So, since I was a young person I always like to be indoors just reading, listening to music or from time
    to time studying.

    Just a pity.
    By the way, I have never have seen my father or my mather doing any physical exercise but
    despite it my father lived till he was 96 years old and my mother till she was 93.
    My father´s mind and physical state was really good till the end.
    My mother´s mind was not so good but physical state was also really good.

    Just a pleasure to write here doing some comments to your always splendid work.

    My best wishes to you dear teacher.


  9. Betty says:

    Dear Emiliano

    Yesterday was a very special day for you as you were born on this day many years ago in Madrid, Spain.

    A belated Happy Birthday to you.

    Sorry my message comes a day late. A sweet young lady introduced me a good youtube video: Toastmasters 2003 Champion, Jim Key, “Never Too Late”.

    It works magic. Now I don’t care how late I am, I must say Happy Birthday to you, remember it is Never Too Late.

    With all the best wishes.

    Betty 🙂

  10. Peter says:

    My dear friend Emiliano,
    It is cool that your daughter having a group travel with a bunch of friends across British Clumbia. It is ashamed that they are not stopping by to visit Toronto. You know ,we could meet up for a coffe or sth. You know what they say,” like father ,like daughter 🙂

    She must be as nice as you

    How ever, I wish her a happy trip

    Happy to hear that you are restoring your energy ,and health.

    Live long and prosper bro


  11. Dan says:

    Hi there,

    Wow Peter, that commute is tough. My commuting time is 20 minutes by car. By now you must be a good walker.

    My guessing is that you wear out lots of shoes. You make shoes maker happy.:-)

    I think that walking is the best not just for the body but also for the mind.
    That though, not when it is done in the city, That is not good.

    Congratulations for what you do.


  12. emiliano says:

    Thank you Betty, as I have said before yesterday was a nice good day
    to me.
    Little by little I am better and I could talk with a lot of friends that
    call me along all day.

    In the morning I could see a dear friend that is going through hard
    time, I hope she could be better in future.

    My best to you Betty, emiliano

  13. Peter says:

    Hi my friend Emiliano ,
    I wanna follow our proffosor “Lucy ” and my classmates’ step and wish you a happy birthday.i know ,it is a bit belated ,but still counts ,doesn’t it ? 🙂
    U know me , I m always behind.

    Dear Emiliano
    You know what they say,” Laghther is the best medicine,”
    For us ,Eslpod blog is the best medicine.

    Sincerely , I hope to see more of you next year. after all ,you are a pioneer in Eslpod land

    Get well

  14. Peter says:

    Thanks Dan ,

    Yep ,bro
    I do walk a lot!
    It has made me quite lean and mean:))))
    I have no choice. U know I live in the sticks:))
    Well, the first bus stop to the subway is a bit far away from my place.
    So , wether I like it or not ,I have to hoof it to the bus stop every day:))

    I sincierly Appriciate you taking time out of your life to read my nonsense. It means a lot to me ,bro.
    U know ,it feels good that you guys care enough to read my comments. It is somewhat inspirational!
    It is a good mentum

    Needless to say , I always read your comments.
    You are a good writer my friend.

    Thanks for the care



  15. emiliano says:

    Sure Peter, that´s a good medicine and I´ll hope to be here more
    Thank you Peter, I have had a nice birthday.

    Did you remember Alicia in Wonderland?….the mad hat maker?
    He said:
    There is only a day to celebrate the birthday but 364 instead to
    celebrate “the not birthday” so thank you my friend.


  16. emiliano says:

    Live longer?
    That is a very good subject Warren.

    How to live?
    With health or without

    With my head and body in order
    more or less, or not?

    As I said before my father lives till 96 with good head and a nice health, more or less but
    my mother instead lives till 93 with a good healthy body but not a good mind since more
    than the last fourteen years.
    When I saw her dead my first thought was “at last you are resting my dear mami”

    In fact I do not know if I want to live so much, as much as you live as much as you
    suffer seeing the dead of people you really love, that in the case your head is O.K.
    but if it is not so you make suffering to the people who loves you more.

    Just in this moment I would say ….live longer?….no thanks
    but in other moments you grasp to life with nails and teeth
    may be because we do not know really what is beyond.
    Having enough faith it has to be easy just to say good bye friends I´ll see you
    later in the other side.

    Thank you Warren just a good question to think about.


  17. Dan says:

    Dear Emiliano,

    I kind of understand what you ere going through at the time.

    What happened to you made me think; What if one of us dies?

    I do not know, Peter could get hit by a car during his long commuting.
    Jeff could be shoot by his neighbour. What then? or get eaten buy cats.

    Will we see a podcast about Jeff ‘ Death or I do not know, Emiliano has died?

    They should maybe make a corner of the blog where we see the blog’ users that passed away.

    I wonder if who makes websites has ever thought about the issue.

    C’ mon guys, we now kind of know each others! I would like to know if someone dies.
    If that heppen to me, You do not probably get to know that because nobody in my family know I am using this blog.
    It is a secret.

    Well, let’s say that if I do not write something down for a few months that means that I am in a coma or I am Death.

    What do you guys thinks about the issue?

  18. Dan says:

    I forgot about you Betty,

    You could get an heart attack before one of your speeches at that club.

    Hey guys I am joking here. hope you get that.


  19. emiliano says:

    Dan, sure you make me laugh but don´t be worry by my side as just a lot
    of friends here in Madrid are reading the ESL BLOG nearly every day.
    Even my three daughters look and read the BLOG frequently, so if her
    father dies it is sure you´ll have some advise.

    My daughters improved her English a lot by reading and listening to the
    ESL Podcast few years ago. Now Laura, the younger is talking English as her
    first language in Denmark as she doesn´t know Danish yet.
    Thanks to the help of Lucy and Jeff and ESL staff she could be there now
    doing her PhD in biology being paid for it, what is really better.

    Thanks Lucy/Jeff always grateful by that you know it perfectly well.

    So my dear friend Dan go on making some fun from time to time
    it is healthy for the mind.
    Please Dan, where are you from, sorry but I can´t remember…..
    sorry sorry…..


  20. Dan says:


    Don’t you remember !? I am from Italy.

    Have a good day, Sir.


  21. Annie says:

    i’m an active person, I should say.
    Although I’m a sedentory person during worktime and have to be seated all the time in front of the computer, I’m jogging at places at least 30 minutes every evening, 20 push- ups, 200 Jack jumps, 60 squat, and some Yoga activities. I do so to purse a nice figure 🙂

    I don’t like too much strenuous workout, it’s too painstaking and hard to adhear, while i do lik brisk walking. I can walk 2 hours with no sweat. I usually brisk walk 1 hour/day at weekend.

  22. lili says:

    hi emiliano,you know i think life is the best gift we are given infact thats the only we have.we dont know if we still exist after we die or where we were before we born so life means everything for us .no matter what happened in the past or how difficult our future will be .just try your best to enjoy every minute of it .

Comments are closed.