Impact of physical activity on longevity: A review of the literature


  • Flaka Hoti


Physical activity , longevity, older adults


Objectives: The aim of this review was to explain the literature about the association between physical activity and longevity.

Methods: The search was carried out in all databases of Web of Science and in all years (1900-2020), until December 31, 2020. The search term was “physical activity longevity” and the search was restricted to title. The inclusion criteria for papers were: 1. Type: Original papers. 2. Language: English. 3. Sample: Human participants. 4. Measures: Longevity and physical activity.

Findings: A total of 52 papers were found. After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, only 15 papers of these 52 papers were included in this review. The 15 studies found that physical activity have a positive impact on longevity.

Conclusions: Physical activity can extend longevity and delay mortality. Future studies should focus on explaining the influence of different types of physical activities on longevity and identifying potential mechanisms. Public health strategies should be implemented to increase the physical activity levels of the population.


Download data is not yet available.


Glatt SJ, Chayavichitsilp P, Depp C, Schork NJ, Jeste DV. Successful aging: from phenotype to genotype. Biol Psychiatry. 2007;62(4):282–293.

Lupien S, Wan N. Successful aging: from cell to self. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences. 2004;359:1413–1426.

Gremeaux V, Gayda M, Lepers R, Sosner P, Juneau M, Nigam A. Exercise and longevity. Maturitas. 2012;73(4):312-317. 4. De Benedictis G, Franceschi C. Sci Aging Knowl Environ. The unusual genetics of human longevity. 2006;10:pe20.

Carey JR. Longevity, Genetics of. In: Smelser NJ, Baltes PB. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Pergamon; 2001. 6. Beaudry-Godin M, Bourbeau R, Desjardins B. Extreme Longevity in Quebec: Factors and Characteristics. In: Maier H, Jeune B, Vaupel JW, editors. Exceptional Lifespans. Demographic Research Monographs. Springer; 2020.

Harvard Medical School [Internet]. Living to 100: What’s the Secret? [cited 2021 Jun 26]. Available from:

Perls T, Terry D. Understanding the determinants of exceptional longevity. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:445–449.

Schoenhofen EA, Wyszynski DF, Andersen S, et al. Characteristics of 32 Supercentenarians. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2006;54(8):1237–1240.

Sebastiani P, Solovieff N, DeWan AT, et al. Genetic Signatures of Exceptional Longevity in Humans. PLOS ONE. 2012;7(1):e29848.

Terry DF, Sebastiani P, Andersen SL, Perls TT. Disentangling the roles of disability and morbidity in survival to exceptional old age. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:277-283.

Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale [Internet]. Activité physique : contextes et effets sur la santé Rapport. Paris: Les éditions Inserm, 2008,12:811. [cited 2021 Jan 26]. Available from:

World Health Organization [Internet]. Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health [cited 2021 Jan 26]. Available from:

World Health Organization - Regional Office for Europe [Internet]. Physical activity to stay healthy [cited 2021 Jan 26]. Available from:

Warburton DE, Katzmarzyk PT, Rhodes RE, Shephard RJ. Evidence informed physical activity guidelines for Canadian adults. Can J Public Health. 2007;98 Suppl 2:16-68.

Taylor RS, Brown A, Ebrahim S, et al. Exercise-based rehabilitation for patients with coronary heart disease: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Med. 2004;116(10):682–692.

Gieroba B. Effect of physical activity on mental health and cognitive functions. Med Og Nauk Zdr. 2019;25(3):153-161.

Wild S, Roglic G, Green A, Sicree R, King H. Global prevalence of diabetes estimates for the year 2000 and projections for 2030. Diabetes Care. 2004;27(5):1047–1053.

Knowler W, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, et al. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med. 2002;346(6):393–403.

Paffenberger RS, Hyde RT, Hsieh CC, Wing AL. Physical Activity, Other Life-style Patterns, Cardiovascular Disease and Longevity. Acta Medica Scandinavica, 220(S711):85-91.

Paffenbarger RS Jr, Hyde RT, Wing AL, Hsieh CC. Physical activity, all-cause mortality, and longevity of college alumni. N Engl J Med. 1986 Mar 6;314(10):605-613.

Paffenbarger RS Jr, Kampert JB, Lee IM, et al. Changes in physical activity and other lifeway patterns influencing longevity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994;26(7):857-865.

Lissner L, Bengtsson C, Björkelund C, Wedel H. Physical activity levels and changes in relation to longevity. A prospective study of Swedish women. Am J Epidemiol. 1996;143(1):54-62.

I-Min Lee, Ralph S, Paffenbarger RS Jr, Associations of Light, Moderate, and Vigorous Intensity Physical Activity with Longevity: The Harvard Alumni Health Study. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2000;51(3):293–299.

Mori I, Ishizuka T, Morita H, et al. Comparison of Biochemical Data, Blood Pressure and Physical Activity Between Longevity and Non-Longevity Districts in Japan. Circulation Journal.2008;72(10):1680–1684.

Stessman J, Hammerman-Rozenberg R, Cohen A, Ein-Mor E, Jacobs JM. Physical activity, function, and longevity among the very old. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(16):1476-1483.

Lin YP, Huang YH, Lu FH, Wu JS, Chang CJ, Yang YC. Non-leisure time physical activity is an independent predictor of longevity for a Taiwanese elderly population: an eight-year follow-up study. BMC Public Health. 2011;11(428).

Buchman AS, Yu L, Boyle PA, Shah RC, Bennett DA. Total Daily Physical Activity and Longevity in Old Age. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(5):444–446.

Ekblom-Bak E, Ekblom B, Vikström M, de Faire U, Hellenius M-L. The importance of non-exercise physical activity for cardiovascular health and longevityBritish Journal of Sports Medicine 2014;48:233-238.

Stessman J, Jacobs JM. Diabetes Mellitus, Physical Activity, and Longevity Between the Ages of 70 and 90. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014;62(7):1329-1334.

Keadle SK, Arem H, Moore SC, Sampson JN, Matthews CE. Impact of changes in television viewing time and physical activity on longevity: a prospective cohort study. J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2015;12(156).

Rennemark M, Jogréus C, Elmståhl S, Welmer A, Wimo A, Sanmartin-Berglund J. Relationships Between Frequency of Moderate Physical Activity and Longevity: An 11-Year Follow-up Study. Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2018;4.

Brandts L, van den Brandt PA. Body size, non-occupational physical activity and the chance of reaching longevity in men and women: findings from the Netherlands Cohort Study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2019;73(3):239-249.

Stevens M, Cruwys T. Membership in Sport or Exercise Groups Predicts Sustained Physical Activity and Longevity in Older Adults Compared to Physically Active Matched Controls. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 2020;54(8):557-566.




How to Cite

Hoti, F. (2021). Impact of physical activity on longevity: A review of the literature. Atena Journal of Public Health, 3, 4. Retrieved from