Maybe. But it is more complicated than that.

Americans shell out about $27 billion every year for gym memberships. They are pounding out the miles on the treadmill or pumping iron in the weight room, but are there diminishing returns when you commit to higher levels of exercise?

A recent study shows that like a lot of other things, there is a bit of a Goldilocks zone when it comes to physical activity.

The study involved looking back at research information on roughly 660,000 people ranging in age from 21 to 98 in the U.S. and Sweden. The subjects answered questions about how much time they spent exercising or doing some other form of physical activity. People who got exercise were about 20 percent less likely to die during the length of the study.

For the record, current guidelines suggest about 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.

But here is the interesting part: increasing the amount of exercise did not seem to add much benefit. People who did three to five times the recommended amount saw their chances of not dying rise to 39 percent. Past that, the benefits seem to level off.

weight-training-300x150The study also showed that increasing physical activity to up to ten times the recommended guidelines did not increase mortality rates. There has been some concern in recent years among marathon runners about the adverse effects of extreme activity levels.

Additional science is also changing the way we relate physical activity to weight loss. People who took time to engage in moderate activity every day burned about 200 more calories than those who did no physical activities. But those who did the most activity? They say very little increase in the number of calories burned.

The lesson: exercise is important, but you need to change your diet as well in order to lose weight. Researcher Herman Pontzer explains in an interview with


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 Multimedia Article for Diet and Weight Loss Clinic

Mediasophia publishes a multimedia article on SophiaNews highlighting the specific benefits of moderate and vigorous exercise and how they relate to overall health

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