DALLAS – The more fit you are, the longer you’re likely to live, according to a large study of veterans that applies to black men as well as white men.
The Veterans Affairs researchers found that the “highly fit” men in the study had half the risk of death as those who were the least fit. Being “very highly fit” cut the risk even more, by 70 percent.
The research builds on what is already known about the benefits of exercise and fills in some gaps by addressing the effects of fitness in blacks.
“A little bit of exercise goes a long way,” said Peter Kokkinos, lead author of the study. “Thirty minutes a day, five days a week of brisk walking is likely to reduce the risk of mortality by 50 percent if not more.”
With 15,660 participants, the researchers said the study is the largest to look at the link between fitness and mortality. The study also sets itself apart by looking at how exercise affects blacks, whose death rates are higher than whites. About 43 percent of the veterans in the study were black.
The findings were published Tuesday online in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.