If You Want To Live Longer, Just THINK About Exercising More

mbg Contributor By Leigh Weingus
mbg Contributor
Leigh Weingus is a New York City based freelance journalist writing about health, wellness, feminism, entertainment, personal finance, and more. She received her bachelor’s in English and Communication from the University of California, Davis.

Photo by Jacques van Zyl

Do you exercise as much as your peers? Whether the answer to that question is a resounding "yes" or "no" could have an impact on how long you live.

A new study out of Stanford University found that when we think we're not exercising as much as the people around us, it can shave years off our lives. The mental stress, it seems, is enough cause adverse health effects regardless of health status or body mass index. Study co-author Octavia Zahrt first became interested in this subject when she transitioned from her school in London, where she felt was getting as much exercise as her peers, to Stanford University, where she felt her gym habits didn't quite measure up.

She was so stressed out by this notion that she teamed up with Alia Crum, the author of a 2007 study on exercise and the placebo effect. The duo analyzed data from two large surveys, the the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey ad National Health Interview Survey, and found that there's a huge mental component to not exercising enough.

"The ultimate end goal is the sense of enoughness," explains Crum. "It's all individual. If you're thinking, every day, that you haven't done enough, that is problematic."

On the flip side, it's empowering to know we have so much mental control, and that living longer could be as simple as adopting a positive mindset and deciding we are enough.

Want actionable workout tips? Find out if it's more effective to lift weights or heavy weights, and read up on why slowing down is the biggest fitness trend of the moment.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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