Is there a threshold where more exercise makes your life shorter not longer?

An increase in lifespan can be the affect of regular exercise, but amount you need to do to reach a plateau is surprising. 

4th June 2010
Is there a threshold where more exercise makes your life shorter not longer? (Getty)

Asked by: BBC Science Focus

Living a long life is really about dodging the bullet. If you can avoid dying from physical trauma, infectious disease, heart disease, stroke and cancer, you’ll grow old. Exercise doesn’t extend your life, rather lack of exercise shortens it.

Thirty minutes of moderate exercise, three times a week, seems to be enough to reduce your risk of heart disease and Type-2 diabetes down to the minimum dictated by your genes. After that there’s a large plateau where increased exercise doesn’t really affect your lifespan one way or another.

Excessive exercise beyond this point can increase your chance of stroke as well as your chances of being hit by a truck when you’re jogging at 5am.

 


Get more fascinating Q&As from BBC Focus magazine by following @sciencefocusQA