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Fit People Live Longer

If you’re thinking of living longer, think about staying more fit. ?

A new study of more than 14,000 men showed that those who maintained or boosted their fitness level were less likely to die from any cause, including heart disease. This was also true even if their weight stayed the same or increased compared with men whose fitness levels dipped over time, according to an article in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association .

Anyone who has lost weight knows it is just as difficult to keep it off. But this study points to increased endurance as a potentially more attainable goal than being thin. “Many people worry about their weight and weight gain. But based on our study, weight change is less important than fitness changes,” says researcher Duck-chul Lee, an exercise physiologist at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health .

Lee and colleagues assessed fitness via treadmill tests. After 11 years, people who became more fit or maintained their level of fitness were less likely to die from heart disease, stroke or any other cause than men who were less physically fit.

Lee says, “Worry less about your weight and focus more on maintaining or improving your fitness level.” Weighty advice.

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