Background: Exercise improves insulin sensitivity, inhibits inflammatory cytokines, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. But the effect of exercise capacity on all-cause mortality in Taiwanese adults has not been fully explored.

Methods: We used data from the National Health Interview Survey and the National Health Insurance research database in Taiwan. Baseline participants’ characteristics including socioeconomic status and health behaviors were obtained by standardized face to face interviews in 2001, 2005, 2009, and 2013. Comorbidities were confirmed by National Health Insurance research database 2000-2016. Participants were followed up until December 31 2016. All-cause mortality was ascertained from the National Registration of Death. Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazard analysis were used to evaluate the relationship between exercise capacity and all-cause mortality.

Results: In total, 65,126 adults aged more than 18 years old were analyzed; 32,563 (50%) were male and with a mean (SD) age of 42.90 (16.17) years. Kaplan-Meier curves of all-cause mortality stratified by exercise capacity demonstrated significant findings (Log-rank P<0.01). Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that those with higher exercise capacity had a significantly decreased risk of all-cause mortality, compared with those with no exercise habits (moderate exercise with 0-800 kcal/week HR = 0.78, 95% CI: 0.71-0.85, high exercise with more than 800 kcal/week HR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.67-0.79) after adjusting for potential confounders. A significant trend (P for trend<0.01) was also noted.

Conclusions: People with increased exercise capacity had a significant decreased risk of all-cause mortality. Further studies should investigate the type and dose of exercise that is most helpful for the general population to prolong life expectancy.


Y. Lai: None.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at