PUMPING IRONY: Everything in Moderation

Will doubling my 15-minute daily workout add years to my life? Not so much.

I got the results of my annual health check-up recently, and I was pleased to learn that all is well. My blood pressure was down from the year before, my weight was the same as last year and my body mass index was hanging in there around 23 percent. Overall, I scored a 92 on a scale of 100, which ain’t bad in my book.

When I did the follow-up call with my health coach, there wasn’t much to discuss, though I admitted that I’d kind of like to get to the gym once a week and do some heavy lifting. I’m a big fan of weightlifting, and sometimes I think my 15-minute morning bodyweight-and-kettlebell workout is not quite as challenging as it should be.

But now I see that pushing myself beyond my normal regimen might not be all that helpful, at least in terms of lengthening my lifespan (and what’s more important than that, right?). Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times points out a couple of studies that suggest that the benefits of cranking up the duration of your workouts are only marginal at best.

Avoiding Premature Death

One 2011 study found that 15 minutes of moderate exercise daily reduced the risk of premature death by about 14 percent; doubling that workout time only increased your longevity by about 4 percent. Another study showed that serious runners “did not live significantly longer, on average, than people who didn’t run at all.”

This is pretty good news to a geezer who almost never runs and is pretty content with his morning workout (not to mention that 1-mile bike ride up the hill to the office every day). I might still try to hit the gym every so often — just for the variety — but it’s nice to know that I don’t really need to.

, an Experience Life deputy editor, explores the joys and challenges of aging well.

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