Abstract 3676: Physical Activity is Associated with Exceptional Longevity
Background: Previous work suggests a possible dose-response relationship between exercise and the prevention of CVD and all-cause mortality. If physical activity does indeed add to life expectancy, then exercise may be an important modifiable determinant of exceptional longevity.
Methods: In a prospective cohort of 2316 male physicians, we evaluated the effect of leisure-time exercise on lifespan and exceptional longevity, defined as living to at least 90 years of age. We used Cox proportional hazard regression to determine the relationship between physical activity and exceptional longevity while adjusting for CV risk factors and incident major morbidity (cancer, CAD, cerebrovascular disease, HF, and diabetes).
Results: The lifespan of individuals in the cohort ranged from 67.7 to 104.2 years, and 36.1% achieved exceptional longevity. Compared to sedentary lifestyle, regular exercise was associated with a lower risk of death before age 90: adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) for death were 0.76 (0.65–0.88), 0.74 (0.64–0.85), and 0.82 (0.70–0.97) for exercising up to once weekly, 2–4 times weekly, and 5 or more times weekly, respectively (p for trend<0.001). Compared to their physically inactive counterparts, individuals participating in any regular exercise had a greater life expectancy at age 65 years on (22.4±6.0 versus 20.8±6.0 years, p<0.0001, Figure⇓) and were more likely to achieve exceptional longevity (37.4% versus 29.4%, p<0.001).
Conclusion: Participating in any regular leisure-time exercise is associated with extended lifespan and the ability to achieve exceptional longevity, even in the presence of CV risk factors and major chronic illness.