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Physical Activity Makes You Live Longer - Paying Jobs and Other Non-Exercise Activities Reduce Death Rate According to Study

July 12th 2006

Physical Activity Makes You Live Longer - Paying Jobs and Other Non-Exercise Activities Reduce Death Rate According to Study


New research shows that when adults expend energy in non-exercise related activities, such as work at paying jobs, washing the dishes or cleaning the house, they had a lower “rate of death”, compared to less active adults.  Since self reporting does not give an accurate assessment of physical activity, the scientists came up with a new method to determine energy expenditures.    

The researchers gave 302 high-functioning adults certain isotopes in their water to measure the rate at which their bodies eliminated carbon dioxide.  Since there is a relationship between carbon dioxide loss and total energy expended, the scientists were able to determine, quantitatively, the amount each adult worked.  Their resting metabolic rate was also measured.


The participants were followed up over an average of 6.15 years (1998-2006). Fifty-five participants (18.2 percent) died during follow-up.  The kilocalories burned per day were tabulated.

The evidence showed, after adjusting for various factors, that higher levels of activity were associated with a lower risk of death.  They broke up the participants into three groups and compared those with the most activity to those with the least. 

The adults with the most activity lowered their risk of death by 69 percent.  The study indicated that the absolute risk of death for the high activity tertile was 12.1 percent while the risk in the lowest was 24.7 percent.  The middle group fell in between with a 17.6 percent risk of death over the study period. 


The researchers found that those that burned the most energy were more likely to work for pay and climb stairs.  Self-reporting high-intensity exercise, walking for exercise, walking other than exercise, volunteering, and care-giving did not differ significantly across the activity energy expenditure tertiles. The authors suggest that this lack of relationship is likely due to the inaccuracies of self-reported activity levels.

It may be difficult to evaluate each individual’s capacity for work and play and the research did not evaluate this. They were all “high-functioning” older adults.  It is possible though, that those that expended the extra energy lived longer or had a lower risk of death.   

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Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.

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