Associations of Exercise Types with All-Cause Mortality among U.S. Adults

Connor M. Sheehan, Longfeng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose Exercising benefits physical and mental health as well as longevity. However, the extent to which different types of exercise are differentially associated with the risk of mortality is less clear. This study examined whether 15 different types of exercise were uniquely associated with all-cause mortality in a nationally representative sample of noninstitutionalized American adults between 18 and 84 yr old. Methods A total of 26,727 American adults in the National Health Interview Survey who reported their exercise type(s) in 1998 were prospectively followed for all-cause mortality through the end of 2015. We applied a series of discrete time logistic models to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for all-cause mortality. Results During 17 yr of follow-up, 4955 deaths occurred. After adjusting for total volume of other exercises and confounders (demographic factors, socioeconomic status, and health behaviors and status), walking, aerobics, stretching, weight lifting, and stair climbing were related to lower risks of mortality (OR ranged from 0.78 to 0.93). When adjusting for engagement in all exercise types and confounders, stretching (OR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.83-0.97) and playing volleyball (OR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.31-0.93) were uniquely associated with lower risks of mortality. Conclusion These findings suggest that some types of exercise have unique benefits for longevity, but most are indistinguishable in relation to longevity. Future studies should further investigate the unique contribution of specific exercises and the joint contribution of multiple exercises and how to promote greater exercise participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2554-2562
Number of pages9
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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