The Exact Amount Of Time You Need To Spend In The Gym For A Longer Life, According To Research

How much do you have to work out to live longer?

woman standing by treadmill in a gym NDAB Creativity | Shutterstock

If you're anything like us, you have a hard time factoring gym time into your life. There are months when we skip working out altogether and then there are months when we hit the gym 5x a week to overcompensate for our previous laziness. To be totally honest, it just varies from season to season.

So what is the proper amount of exercise required for a long, health-filled life?

The exact amount of minutes you need to spend in the gym for a longer life, according to research. 

RELATED: If You Keep Up These 5 Unorthodox Habits, You'll Always Look Youthful


Unlike medicine, exercise does not come with dosing instructions. What is the current amount of moderate exercise that is recommended? The current broad guidelines from governmental and health organizations call for 150 minutes of exercise per week so people can build and maintain health and fitness.

But whether that amount of exercise represents the least amount that someone should do — the minimum recommended dose — or the ideal amount has not been certain.

Scientists also do not know whether there is a safe upper limit on exercise, beyond which the effects become potentially dangerous; and whether some intensities or variations of exercise are more effective than others at prolonging lives.


RELATED: People Who Drink Are More Likely To Live Longer, Says Study

A 2015 study from researchers of the National Cancer Institute collected data about the exercise habits of more than 661,000 mostly middle-aged adults. They arranged the data according to people who never exercise to over-active folks who worked out 10 times or more than what's recommended, which tends to be 25 hours a week or more.

They then compared 14 years of death records for the group.

People who lead sedentary lifestyles were found to be at high risk for premature death. Those who exercised without meeting the recommended amount lowered their risk of premature death by 20 percent. But it was those whose workouts lasted 150 minutes per week lowered their risk by 31 percent.


RELATED: The One Thing You Can Give Your Parents To Help Them Live Longer, Happier Lives

People who had productive workouts, logging 450 minutes per week, have little to no cause for concern; they were found to be 39 percent less likely to die prematurely than people who don't exercise at all.

At that point, the benefits plateaued, the researchers found, but they never declined. The individuals engaging in 10 times or more of the recommended exercise dose gained about the same reduction in mortality risk as people who simply met the guidelines. They did not gain significantly more health for all of those additional hours spent working out. But they also did not increase their risk of dying young.

Keep in mind that going above and beyond the recommended amounts isn’t always necessary, so don’t stress when you can’t make it. However, we completely get it if you still go the extra mile — if it sheds a couple of years and keeps you looking like a beach goddess 365, who can object? 


RELATED: 3 Surprising Things You Can Do In Your Spare Time To Live Longer

Nicole Weaver is a senior writer for Showbiz Cheat Sheet whose work has been featured in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more.