Stronger people are hard to kill.

We are seeing that physically active, strong individuals are less likely to die from all causes.

What types of behaviors should you adopt to reduce your risk of mortality and to improve your quality of life?

Let’s start with cardiovascular exercises and resistance training.

If you have any health issues or concerns you should speak to your physician before starting a new exercise program.

Why start a cardiovascular or resistance training program?

  • All-cause mortality is delayed
  • Reduced risk of developing: CHD, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers
  • Preserves bone mass and reduces risk of falls
  • Improves blood pressure, lipoprotein profile, c reactive protein and other CHD, biomarkers, enhances insulin sensitivity, and helps with weight management.
  • Prevention and improvement in mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
  • Enhances feelings of “energy”, well-being, quality of life, and cognitive function.
  • Lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
  • Resistance training may also help prevent and / or treat metabolic syndrome.
    • Metabolic Syndrome: A cluster of conditions that occur together, which increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 Diabetes. Conditions include: High blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
    • Up to 1/3 of US adults now have metabolic syndrome.

Recommendations for healthy adults:


  • Moderate intensity 30 min / day, 5 days a week
  • or vigorous intensity 20 min / day, 3 days a week
  • It is possible to split this up into 10 minute segments multiple times per day
  • It is helpful to slowly adopt exercise versus trying to start right out at these levels.
  • It will be healthier with less risk of injury and you will be more likely to stick with it.
  • Use the RPE scale to help determine appropriate workload.

Rating of Perceived Exertion (helpful for determining your intensity):

Resistance Training:

  • 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Use a weight / resistance that causes fatigue, but not complete exhaustion by the end of each set.
  • Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.
  • Perform 2-3 full body sessions per week or split this up into separate body segments each day (legs one day, arms the next). With 48-72 hours of rest for each body part prior to the next session for that area.

Sitting is the new smoking:

  • Increasing physical activity but continuing to have long bouts of sedentary activities such as watching television, computer work, driving, or sitting at a desk can not just be reversed by activity. Important to break up these activities with movement “snacks”.
  • Consider movement snacks every 30-60 minutes of sitting.
  • This could include:
    • 30 seconds of sit to stands
    • 10 push ups or wall push ups
    • A weighted carry across the room
    • 20 dead lifts
    • Virtually any moderate activity for 30-60 seconds

By Todd Sullivan, PT – Senior Therapist, West Jefferson Clinic

A great reference is the American College of Sports Medicine’s position stand on activity recommendations of apparently healthy adults:

Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise