Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky's exercise routine includes 10 pool workouts over five days and three weight room sessions a week, with Sundays off.
You can bet she gets in a lot more than the minimum recommended amount of moderate physical activity (150-300 minutes weekly) or vigorous physical activity (75-150 minutes weekly), which is essential for a world-class athlete.
For the rest of us, however, there's good news about the benefits of faithfully sticking with those minimum recommendations — or increasing them a bit.
A study published in the journal Circulation used 30 years' data on 100,000 people to see what impact different levels of physical activity have on the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and from all causes. The researchers discovered that those who regularly did 150-300 minutes a week of moderate physical activity had a 22% to 25% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 20% to 21% lower risk of death from all causes over those decades.
The very best protection came from 300 to 600 minutes a week (or 42 to 84 minutes a day) of long-term moderate physical activity or around 150 to 300 minutes a week of vigorous physical activity (21 to 42 minutes a day), or an equivalent combination of both. Those levels of activity reduced the risks by 26% to 31% — the equivalent of living eight years longer disability-free.
That should be exciting enough to make you head out the door to get started on your 42-plus minutes of smiles, sweat, and a longer, healthier life.