It’s time to add to your list of reasons to work out: Getting active could help prevent risk of death from the flu and pneumonia, according to new research.
Aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity reduce risk of dying from influenza and pneumonia by 48%, according to a study published Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity and two or more days of moderate muscle strengthening activities a week, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The study relied on the survey data of more than 570,000 people from the US National Health Interview Survey between 1998 and 2018. People were asked about their physical activity habits, and they were categorized into groups based on how well they met the recommended amount of exercise, according to the study.
On average, the respondents were monitored for nine years after the initial survey. There were 1,516 deaths from the flu or pneumonia in that time.
Meeting both recommendations for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity cut the risk associated with flu or pneumonia death nearly in half, but meeting just the aerobic activity target was associated with a 36% lower risk, according to the study.
But even if you can’t reach the recommended amount, some activity can still provide more protection than none, according to the study.
Getting 10 to 149 minutes a week of aerobic physical activity was associated with a 21% decreased risk of flu and pneumonia death, the study showed.
That being said, no additional benefit was seen for people who got more than 600 minutes a week of aerobic activity, the study showed.