|As fitness increases, mortality risk decreases. |
The benefit does not appear to "bottom out"
at any point. More fitness is better.
An impressive new study from the Cleveland Clinic provides the best evidence yet for a high-fitness lifestyle. It is considered more authoritative than other similar studies linking exercise and reduced mortality because it is based on actual treadmill-testing data and not questionnaires that ask, "How much do you exercise?
The study is also unique for its focus on older subjects, including those at the extreme high end of cardiovascular fitness (termed “elites”). Researchers concluded that there is no upper limit to the benefits of fitness, and that high-level fitness is particularly beneficial to those 70 and older.
The study is open-access, meaning you can read it free here:
Below, LifetimeRunning.net briefly summarizes several of the key points.
*** The study looked at 122,000 patients who had a treadmill stress test at the Cleveland Clinic. They were divided into five fitness groups based on their treadmill results: low, average, above average, high, and elite (above the 97.6th percentile). Subjects were followed for the next 8.4 years, with 13,637 deaths during that time.
*** Subjects in the highest (“elite”) fitness quintile had an 80 percent lower risk of mortality than those in the lowest fitness quintile.
*** Elite subjects had a 23 percent lower mortality risk than even those in the high-fit group.
*** “Importantly, there was no upper limit of benefit of increased aerobic fitness.”
*** “There was no evidence to suggest relative harm associated with extreme levels of fitness.”*** “Achieving and maintaining very high levels of aerobic fitness may be particularly important in patients older than 70 and those with hypertension.”