http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/14/AR2005111401051.htmlA Daily Workout Could Add 4 Years to Life, Study Says
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 15, 2005; Page A01
Sorry, couch potatoes -- the verdict is in: People who exercise regularly really do live longer.
In fact, people who get a good workout almost daily can add nearly four years to their life spans, according to the first study to quantify the impact of physical activity this way.
The researchers looked at records of more than 5,000 middle-aged and elderly Americans and found that those who had moderate to high levels of activity lived 1.3 to 3.7 years longer than those who got little exercise, largely because they put off developing heart disease -- the nation's leading killer. Men and women benefited about equally.
"This shows that physical activity really does make a difference -- not only for how long you live but for how long you live a healthy life," said Oscar H. Franco of the Erasmus M.C. University Medical Center in Rotterdam, who led the study, published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine. "Being more physically active can give you more time."
Previous studies have found that being physically active has a host of health benefits. It reduces the risk of being overweight and of developing many illnesses, improves overall quality of life, and lowers the mortality rate. But the new study is the first to directly calculate the effect on how long people live......