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Exercise Leads to Longer Life, Even for Obese

Update Date: Nov 08, 2012 10:11 AM EST

A new study states that people who exercise regularly, even those who are obese, live longer than people who do not exercise regularly.

Apart from all the health benefits and the advantages of looking fit, a new study has found that exercising regularly can also increase the number of years a person lives.

According to a report on a study that was published in the journal PLoS Medicine Tuesday, exercising for 30 minutes a day can extend a person's life duration by three and a half years on an average and another 4.2 years if the person is willing to increase the duration of exercising daily to one hour of brisk walking.

For the highly obese people, indulging in exercise of moderate intensity for approximately two and a half hours a week or high intensity exercises for 75 minutes a week can prove to be beneficial in increasing his or her life expectancy.

"This finding may convince currently inactive persons that a modest level of physical activity is 'worth it' for health benefits, even if it may not result in weight control," the study authors wrote.

Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist who was not involved in the research, called the study "very conclusive" and said that owing to the number of people that underwent the study, it's findings have been strengthened.  

"We have to set priorities with patients," Lopez-Jimenez said. "First and foremost is to get sedentary obese people to become as active as they can and not to use their weight as a measure of their success. Sometimes, we tend to focus too much on the weight issue and too little on the exercise part of it."

"We have to get people to understand that it's not all about weight," said Dr. Robert Sallis, a sports medicine specialist with Kaiser Permanente in Fontana who has spearheaded the Exercise Is Medicine initiative under the auspices of the American College of Sports Medicine. "Not everyone can lose weight. But everyone can get fit."

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