New Study Reveals Women Need Half as Much Exercise as Men for Longevity Benefits, Says Cardiology Expert

A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that women may need to exercise less than men to achieve similar longevity benefits. Dr. Martha Gulati, co-author of the study and director of preventive cardiology at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, emphasizes the positive implications of this finding for women who may struggle to maintain regular exercise routines. She notes, “For me, the news to women is: a little goes a long way.”

The study revealed that while men who engaged in approximately 300 minutes of aerobic exercise per week experienced an 18% lower risk of mortality compared to inactive men, women needed only about 140 minutes of weekly exercise to achieve a comparable benefit. Interestingly, women who engaged in around 300 minutes of exercise per week had a 24% lower risk of death. However, the longevity benefits seemed to plateau beyond this threshold for both sexes.

Similarly, the analysis of muscle-strengthening exercise demonstrated a gender difference. A single weekly strength-training session was associated with equivalent longevity benefits for women as three weekly sessions for men. Gulati explains that women typically have less muscle mass than men, suggesting that they may derive greater benefits from smaller doses of strength training due to their initial lower muscle mass. Other physiological differences between the sexes, such as those related to the lungs and cardiopulmonary system, may also contribute to this divergence.

The study relied on data from over 400,000 U.S. adults who participated in the National Health Interview Survey from 1997 to 2017, correlating self-reported exercise habits with death records. While over 40,000 participants died during the study period, the observational nature of the study cannot establish causation. Nevertheless, the researchers attempted to mitigate confounding variables by excluding individuals with serious preexisting conditions or mobility limitations and those who died within the first two years of follow-up.

Limitations of the study include the reliance on self-reported exercise data, which may not always be accurate, and the exclusion of physical activity performed during work or household chores. Despite these constraints, Gulati emphasizes the need for further research to validate the findings. She stresses the importance of recognizing sex-based differences in both research and public health policy, challenging the longstanding practice of using men as the standard.

Current federal guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio per week, along with two muscle-strengthening sessions for all U.S. adults. However, data from 2020 indicate that a larger percentage of men meet these benchmarks compared to women. Gulati’s research suggests that women may still derive significant longevity benefits from exercise, even if they fall short of meeting these targets.

Nevertheless, Gulati maintains that the study’s findings should not discourage men, as emerging research indicates that both sexes benefit from even brief periods of physical activity. Encouraging individuals to reduce sedentary behavior and incorporate more movement into their daily routines remains paramount. She concludes, “Our pitch should be the same to men and women: something is better than nothing. Sit less and move more.”


Unlocking the Secrets of Hunza Valley: The Remarkable Habits Behind Centenarian Longevity

In the remote and lesser-known region of Hunza Valley, situated in the far north of Pakistan, the inhabitants seem to defy conventional medical expectations.

The area is predominantly inhabited by the Burusho and Wakhi people, who have not only survived but also flourished for centuries in isolated villages with limited facilities for healthcare. Research indicates that the average lifespan in this region hovers around 100 years.

“My spouse originates from the Burusho indigenous group and was born and raised in this valley. Upon our marriage, I relocated from the United States, and we settled in the central area of the valley.”

Here are some fascinating practices contributing to the longevity of the Hunza people:

1.Consumption of Apricot Seeds and Oil

Apricot trees constitute a vital local crop in the valley. Studies suggest that apricot seeds, rich in a compound called amygdalin, possess cancer-fighting properties and can combat inflammation within the body.

“Traditional Hunzai cuisine prominently features apricot oil. Previously, it was manually extracted, but nowadays, locals employ machines for this purpose.”

“My mother-in-law recounted that half a century ago, apricot oil was the primary cooking medium, even for meat dishes. Additionally, dried apricot fruits aid in alleviating altitude sickness and are utilized in winter soups.”

2.Continuous Physical Activity

Individuals in Hunza maintain an active and healthy lifestyle throughout their lives, extending into old age. Even during harsh winters, it is common to observe elderly individuals engaged in activities such as tending to livestock, gathering firewood, and performing household chores.

“Community engagements like ‘rajaki,’ involving the cleaning of elevated water canals during spring, further contribute to their active lifestyle. Cycling, skating, and playing sports like soccer and cricket are daily pursuits for locals of all age groups.”

3.Consumption of Glacier Water

Hunza Valley is endowed with numerous glaciers that melt during the summer months. The resulting glacial water, known as “Hunza water,” has attracted scientific interest due to its unique properties. Filtered naturally by layers of ice and rock, it is believed to contain beneficial minerals, including quartz in colloid form, which are potent antioxidants.

“Glacial water, available from May to October during the runoff period, is highly valued by the locals, who prefer it over filtered water for its purported health benefits.”

4.Minimal Consumption of Processed Foods

The Hunza diet primarily consists of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Processed foods are rare, and fast food establishments are non-existent in the region. Meals are prepared fresh daily within households, often incorporating homegrown vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, and potatoes.

“Locally sourced meat, obtained from recently slaughtered animals, is a staple in Hunza cuisine. The emphasis on fresh, organic produce underscores the community’s commitment to wholesome eating.”

5.Strong Community Bonds

Community cohesion is a cornerstone of life in Hunza Valley, with close-knit neighborhoods and villages where residents support and care for one another, particularly the elderly. Unlike in many other places, retirement homes are absent, and elders are revered and looked after within their families.

“With negligible crime rates, children enjoy a safe environment where outdoor activities take precedence over screen time. The collective spirit of Hunza society fosters a sense of belonging and mutual support.”

“After residing in this valley for the past two years, I can attest to the exceptional sense of community that permeates every aspect of life here.”