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Which type of exercise keeps you young?

Pedersen, Bente Klarlund

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: March 2019 - Volume 22 - Issue 2 - p 167–173
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000546
HOT TOPIC: Edited by Peter Soeters

Purpose of review Robust epidemiological evidence exists that lifelong regular exercise contributes to longevity. The aim of this review is to discuss recent findings regarding, which dose and type of physical activity promotes a long healthy life, free of disease.

Recent findings Meeting the currently recommended amounts of leisure time physical aerobic activity of moderate intensity of at least 150 min/week provides most of the longevity benefit. However, a higher duration and intensity augments the beneficial effect on cardiovascular health and metabolism. Performing three to five times the recommended physical activity minimum reaches the maximal longevity benefit, that can be achieved. Although it is not dangerous to perform even higher amounts of exercise, the benefit may decrease. A high maximal oxygen uptake in mid-life is a strong marker of longevity, whereas muscle mass is a critical prognostic factor in aging and cancer.

Summary Exercise training above the public health recommendations provides additional benefits regarding disease protection and longevity. Endurance exercise, including high-intensity training to improve cardiorespiratory fitness promotes longevity and slows down aging. Strength training should be added to slow down loss of muscle mass, associated with aging and disease.

Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism (CIM)/Centre for Physical Activity Research (CFAS), Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence to Bente Klarlund Pedersen, MD, DMSC, Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism (CIM) and Centre for Physical Activity Research (CFAS), Rigshospitalet 7641, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark. Tel: +45 35 45 77 97; e-mail:

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