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Aerobic Exercise for a Longer Life

Aerobic Exercise for a Longer Life

by George Zakharia, DPT2 Comments

Just move! Research indicates time and time again that the more you move, especially with aerobic exercise, the longer you may live!1,2,3 Read below as we define what aerobic exercise is and how much you’ll need to help live a longer life.

What is Aerobic Exercise?

Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups (like those in your legs), allows you to move in a rhythmical manner (like a repeated motion), and is sustainable for a long period of time (greater than 10 min).1

Examples of Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise can range from many different activities, but research says that we should strive for moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise.1

  • Moderate Intensity
    • A moderate intensity aerobic exercise is just that, moderate to somewhat hard in intensity.1,4 If you’re trying to talk during this exercise, it starts getting difficult to say a whole sentence in one breath.1,4 Popular options of moderate intensity exercise may include brisk walking, running, bicycling, jumping rope and swimming.1 Really, it can be any activity that causes your heart rate to increase and forces you to breathe harder than normal. That could include dancing, washing your car, yard work or even cleaning!
  • Vigorous Intensity
    • Vigorous intensity exercise is hard to very hard in intensity, where you may only be able to speak a few words at a time.1,4 Vigorous activity may include harder activities such as jogging, running, carrying heavy groceries upstairs, shoveling snow, or participating in a strenuous exercise class.1

How Much Aerobic Exercise is Needed?

As little as 15 minutes each day of any aerobic exercise has shown an increased life span by an additional 3 years. 2,3

Can more than 15 minutes each day of exercise help? Definitely! People who achieve 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week (about 30 minutes each day) as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association, increased their longevity by 28%. 1,2,3

Increasing your exercise up to 300 minutes each week (about 60 minutes each day) has shown to increase longevity by 35%!3 Throw in some vigorous activity and you can increase longevity by another 5% when compared to low to moderate intensity activities.1 The benefit of vigorous activity is that you don’t have to do that much of it: just 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity is recommended each week!1

If pain or injury is preventing you from achieving your aerobic exercises, reach out to an Athletico clinic near you. Start by scheduling a free assessment, where our experts will take a look at your condition for free. They’ll make recommendations which may include starting physical therapy right away. Free assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.)
2. Wen, Chi Pang, et al. “Minimum Amount of Physical Activity for Reduced Mortality and Extended Life Expectancy: a Prospective Cohort Study.” The Lancet, vol. 378, no. 9798, 2011, pp. 1244–1253., doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(11)60749-6.
3. Hupin D, Roche F, Gremeaux V, et al. Even a low-dose of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces mortality by 22% in adults aged ≥60 years: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2015;49(19):1262-1267. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2014-094306
4. Zuhl , Micah. “Tips for Monitoring Aerobic Exercise Intensity.” American College of Sports Medicine, 2020,

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George Zakharia was a physical therapist at Athletico Physical Therapy at the time of this blog.


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