Physical activity is known to have a positive impact on overall health and mortality risk reduction. The importance of different combinations of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities in reducing the risks of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality is a topic of increasing interest. A recent study conducted by Rubén López-Bueno, PhD, and colleagues aimed to investigate the associations between various combinations of moderate aerobic physical activity (MPA), vigorous aerobic physical activity (VPA), and muscle-strengthening activity (MSA) with mortality outcomes.
Breaking Down the Study on Aerobic and Muscle-Strengthening Activity
Quick Overall Summary
The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, utilized data from the US National Health Interview Survey and followed up with over 500,000 participants for a median of 10 years. The researchers sought to determine the optimal combinations of MPA, VPA, and MSA that would lead to a reduction in the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality.
In this pursuit, the researchers embarked on a nationwide prospective cohort study that involved over half a million participants. With a median follow-up of 10 years, the team examined the associations of different combinations of MPA, VPA, and MSA with all-cause, cardiovascular (CVD), and cancer mortality. This comprehensive investigation aimed to uncover the hidden nuances of physical activity’s influence on different mortality causes and to determine the ideal balance for achieving maximum health benefits.
The study’s design was meticulous, utilizing self-reported data from the US National Health Interview Survey and linking participant information to the National Death Index through the end of 2019. By combining data from 22 consecutive rounds of the survey, the researchers ensured a nationally representative sample that could provide insights applicable to the broader population. The extensive dataset encompassed a diverse range of participants, allowing for robust conclusions about the relationships between physical activity and mortality risk.
The key question at the heart of this study was: What is the optimal combination of MPA, VPA, and MSA to reduce the risk of mortality from all causes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer? The findings revealed several critical insights:
- Balanced Combinations: The study underscored the importance of finding the right balance between MPA, VPA, and MSA. Participants who engaged in these activities in harmonious proportions experienced lower mortality risks across the board.
- VPA’s Impact: The research highlighted the potential of vigorous aerobic physical activity (VPA) to significantly lower all-cause mortality risk. Notably, higher levels of VPA, when combined with moderate aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening exercises, demonstrated the strongest association with risk reduction.
- Cardiovascular Mortality: For cardiovascular disease mortality risk reduction, the optimal combination included higher levels of MPA, moderate VPA, and adherence to recommended MSA. This nuanced approach underscored the importance of a comprehensive approach to physical activity for heart health.
- Cancer Mortality: Interestingly, higher-than-recommended levels of MPA, limited VPA, and adherence to recommended MSA were associated with the lowest cancer mortality risk. This suggests that tailored combinations of these activities may have unique effects on cancer outcomes.
Key Takeaways From the Study
- The study focused on exploring the associations between different combinations of MPA, VPA, and MSA with all-cause, cardiovascular (CVD), and cancer mortality.
- Balanced amounts of MPA, VPA, and MSA were linked to lower mortality risk.
- Higher intensities of aerobic physical activity, especially VPA, were associated with greater risk reduction for all-cause mortality.
- For cardiovascular mortality risk reduction, optimal combinations included higher levels of MPA, limited VPA, and meeting MSA recommendations.
- To lower cancer mortality risk, higher-than-recommended levels of MPA, limited VPA, and meeting MSA recommendations were associated with better outcomes.
In conclusion, this comprehensive cohort study revealed that combining different intensities of aerobic physical activity and muscle-strengthening exercises contributes to the reduction of mortality risk. The findings underscore the importance of including both MPA and VPA, as well as meeting MSA recommendations, for optimal results. The study suggests that increasing VPA while maintaining MPA and MSA recommendations may lead to a greater reduction in all-cause mortality risk. Additionally, exceeding recommended levels of MPA, alongside limited VPA and MSA adherence, may offer substantial benefits in terms of reducing cancer mortality risk. These insights provide valuable guidance for individuals and health professionals in designing effective physical activity regimens for improved overall health and longevity.