Guenther Samitz of the Center for Sports Sciences and University Sports of the University of Vienna and colleagues at the Universities of Bern, Switzerland and Bristol, conducted a meta-analysis, which involved more than 1.3 million participants.
The researchers identified about 7,000 potentially relevant studies, of which 80 involved more than 1.3 million study participants from Europe, Canada, the United States and Asia.
At study onset participants were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic conditions, and study participants were tracked a median of 11 years. The findings factored in cigarette smoking, alcohol, body mass index, blood pressure, nutrition, education and social factors.
Meeting the World Trade Organization's recommended level of 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity of daily life or during leisure was associated with a reduction in mortality risk by 10 percent, but for vigorous exercise and sports the reduction in mortality risk was 22 percent.
The analysis, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, found 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activities of daily living was associated with a reduction in mortality risk of 19 percent, while vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and sports was associated with a 39 percent reduction of mortality risk.