While the evidence for the benefits of regular moderate exercise is voluminous and unassailable, there is comparatively little to back any one approach to exercise over another, and little to show that undertaking any more than moderate exercise will produce meaningfully greater benefits to long-term health. Thus is it always interesting to see studies that show a fairly robust correlation between differences in exercise and mortality rates, but as ever bear in mind that correlation does not imply causation. It is plausible that data reflects the tendency for healthier people to exercise more vigorously rather than it being a case of more vigorous exercise producing healthier people:
The researchers followed 204,542 people for more than six years, and compared those who engaged in only moderate activity (such as gentle swimming, social tennis, or household chores) with those who included at least some vigorous activity (such as jogging, aerobics or competitive tennis). They found that the risk of mortality for those who included some vigorous activity was 9 to 13 per cent lower, compared with those who only undertook moderate activity. "The benefits of vigorous activity applied to men and women of all ages, and were independent of the total amount of time spent being active. The results indicate that whether or not you are obese, and whether or not you have heart disease or diabetes, if you can manage some vigorous activity it could offer significant benefits for longevity."
The current advice is for adults to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. "The guidelines leave individuals to choose their level of exercise intensity, or a combination of levels, with two minutes of moderate exercise considered the equivalent of one minute of vigorous activity. It might not be the simple two-for-one swap that is the basis of the current guidelines. Our research indicates that encouraging vigorous activities may help to avoid preventable deaths at an earlier age. Previous studies indicate that interval training, with short bursts of vigorous effort, is often manageable for older people, including those who are overweight or obese."