Cardio alone isn’t going to cut it if your main exercise goal is to live a longer life. For that purpose, you’ll need to get in at least two muscle-building workouts each week, in addition to a mix of both moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, a new study suggests.

“If you only do moderate physical activity each week, you will significantly reduce your risk of early mortality, but if you add weekly vigorous activity and muscle-strengthening physical activity to your usual moderate physical activity routine, you will reduce your risk of early mortality even more,” says the lead study author, Rubén López-Bueno, PhD, of the University of Zaragoza in Spain.

What’s the Best Kind of Exercise for Longevity?

For the study, researchers examined data on more than half a million adults who reported how many minutes per week they engaged in three types of physical activity:

  • Moderate-intensity exercise like brisk walking
  • Vigorous-intensity exercise like jogging or running
  • Muscle-strengthening activity like lifting weights

During a follow-up period of about a decade, roughly 56,000 people died, including more than 17,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease and almost 13,000 deaths from cancer.

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