Risk of premature death five times higher for sedentary people, study finds

WOODINVILLE, Wash. - We all know exercise is good for your health, but a new study in the journal JAMA showed not exercising is worse for health than smoking and diabetes. The researchers found being unfit should be considered as strong of a risk factor for mortality as hypertension and heart disease and revealed the risk for premature death for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle was five times higher than people who regularly incorporated rigorous exercise into their lives.

Going to the gym can feel like a dead-lift for many Americans, but at Progressive Performance in Woodinville, it’s about progress, not perfection.

“Everybody starts in a different place and it’s about how you progress from where you start,” said gym owner Jimmy McCurry.

Three months ago, routines at the gym were not the norm for busy mom Jessica.

“And then life and babies and marriage and all of that happened and you tend to let yourself go and that’s where I was,” she said.

She decided it was time to prioritize herself and commit to regular exercise.

“The weight is one big one, and the strength has been great as well,” she said

McCurry knows a thing or two about progress. As an overweight kid, he got into wrestling and discovered the benefits of fitness.

“That’s when I learned how much of an impact it can make on your physique, your overall health and your confidence, and I wanted to bring that to everyone else that I came in contact with,” he said.

At Progressive Performance, his clients are on a fitness journey together.

“We have clients from 10 years old all the way to 75 years old,” said McCurry.

He says people need to understand fitness is critical to staying functional through old age.

“If all of those things have adapted well and you have a higher than average muscle mass and you keep things like your leg strength into old age, then you live longer and live better,” McCurry said.

The study found that all ages benefit from exercise - especially women and the elderly - and that rigorous aerobic exercise was associated with the greatest survival and especially beneficial in older adults.

“Getting up and exercising 10 minutes a day will help you mentally. Will it help your muscle mass growth or density? We need a longer duration to do that,” McCurry said, adding he suggests a half-hour of rigorous exercise five days a week to see long-term health benefits, as well as incorporating resistance training.

Jessica says you need to start somewhere, and to remember the fitness journey is a lot like life: It’s about progressing to perform your best.