Get Walking Kāpiti – Exercise increases life expectancy

Latest academic research studies have found that exercise increases life expectancy regardless of the size of people, proving exercise is critical to longevity, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

A British Medical Journal report says brisk walking increased life expectancy on all of those that took part in the study, regardless of their body mass index (BMI), which is often used as an indicator for people’s health.

Mr Beddie says the benefits of brisk walking exercise applied to people of all ages so the message of ‘move your body’ is such an important one and should be the focus for every Kiwi, regardless of bodyweight.

Kāpiti fitness expert Samantha Ives says the study is spot on and there is no doubt exercise will increase life expectancy for people of any shape and size.

“Just as importantly, exercise gives you a better quality of life as you age.”

Ms Ives says doing weights three times a week in the morning will not only benefit you physically but will also help to create a positive mood for your day.

“As we age, muscles need activity and resistance training will help maintain muscle mass which in turn gives you healthy joints,” says Ms Ives.

World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines suggest people should exercise 150 minutes a week, which means being active for 30 minutes five times a week, by doing any physical activity.

Alternatively, people can benefit from exercising 90 minutes a week with moderate to intense activity, which also meets WHO suggested levels.

Mr Beddie says for many, walking the dog regularly, or cycling to work may be enough, while for others a couple of trips to the gym every week meets these requirements.

“But what’s more important is every bit matters. Even if people cannot make the WHO guidelines, something is better than nothing here.

In New Zealand, there are more than 4000 preventable deaths annually due to lack of physical activity compared to less than 400 due to the annual road toll), so lack of exercise is a hidden killer.

“The New Zealand exercise industry is ready and willing to play its part here and today we call on the government to work with us it to help get more Kiwis active.”

Mr Beddie says there is so much talk about taxes on everything from sugar to processed foods but as a nation Kiwis should look at encouraging or subsidising the other side of the equation.

He says New Zealanders need to do more and this needs leadership and direction from government, local authorities, organisations and workplaces, supporting people to get more active.