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How much exercise can you do before it starts to take more time than it adds life?

Exercise may make you live longer. But it also costs time.


How many minutes a day of out-of-breath endurance exercise can someone healthy do from the age of 25, before another minute adds less than a minute of extra life?


Endurance exercise means time spent out of breath for over five minutes. It doesn't include rest, travel, work to pay for equipment and so on. But out-of-breath running, cycling, swimming and so on count.

Extra life means you live longer. It doesn't include time that would otherwise be spent, say, working to pay for a doctor, and so on.

We'll take someone healthy to mean a person who:

  • was born in the 1990s,

  • doesn't smoke,

  • eats over 500 grams a day of fruit and vegetables,

  • has body fat that weighs under 18% of their mass if they're a man, and under 25% if they're a woman,

  • drinks under 70 grams a week of pure alcohol, and

  • lives in a World Bank high-income country.


The question closes if, after 2022-01-01 00:00 UTC, the gap from the community's 25% value to its 75% value becomes less than or equal to 8 minutes a day. Then a Metaculus staff member gets a random integer from 1 to 10 from a website such as

  • If the number is 1 to 9, the question resolves as the community's median.

  • If the number is 10, the question resolves by a search as in the next paragraph.

Otherwise, the question closes at 2023-07-01 00:00 UTC. Then a Metaculus staff member searches for 'physical activity mortality' in the health database Epistemonikos. He or she finds the latest systematic review that is relevant to this question. The question resolves as the review's estimate.


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