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Exercising can Add up to Five Years to Life

Update Date: Dec 13, 2012 06:01 AM EST

Exercising is not only the best way to have a fabulous body, but also adds extra years to life, says a new study.

The study suggests that adults who include at least 150 minutes of physical activity in their routine every week live longer than others.

For the study, Ian Janssen, Ph.D., of Queen's University in Ontario, Canada and fellow researchers compared the life expectancy of adults who were inactive, moderately active and highly active.

"Active" was defined as doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, Medical Xpress reported.

The researchers found that moderate activity added about 2.4 years to the lives of men at age 20, while women of the same age gained about 3 additional years by staying active.

Non-Hispanic black women seemed to benefit the most out of physical activity, with an addition of 5.5 years to their lives.

"Research has shown that the health messages that have the greatest effect on changing people's behaviors need to be easy to understand, specific to the individual, and be phrased in a gained-framed and positive manner," Janssen explained.

"The messages on longevity gains associated with physical activity that were developed in this paper meet all three of those characteristics," he added. "That is, people will understand what it means if you tell them they will live 2½ years longer if they become active." 

Sara Bleich, Ph.D., assistant professor of Health Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says that when it comes to behavior change, people prefer to be rewarded and not penalized.

"For healthy behavior changes such as dieting or smoking, rewards have been shown to effectively motivate behavior change," she said. "From the current research, it is unclear whether rewards or penalties are more effective at motivating behavior change, but it is clear that rewards do work."

The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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