If you’re one of Jezebel’s resident #teens, do not skip gym class today, no matter how boring and stupid kickball seems.

Reuters reports on a study newly published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Researchers at Vanderbilt crunched numbers from a group of 75,000 women in Shanghai, and found that those who exercised even as little as 1.3 hours a week as teens saw long-term rewards:

“The main finding is that exercise during adolescence is associated with a reduced risk of mortality, or death, in middle-aged to older women,” Sarah J. Nechuta, an assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, said in an interview.

During nearly 13 years of follow-up after joining the study, women who had been physically active in their teens had a 16 percent lower risk of dying from cancer and a 15 percent decreased risk of death from all causes.

Of course, Reuters notes that, “Women in the study were 40 to 70 years old when they were recruited between 1996 and 2000. They were interviewed about lifestyle factors and how much they had exercised during their teens.” Does anybody have truly accurate recall for mundane details that far back? And LiveScience notes that, as always, correlation does not equal causation:

While the study found an association, it is not clear whether exercising during adolescence can actually cause lower mortality later in life. However, multiple mechanisms are likely involved in the link seen in the study, Nechuta said.

“One potential mechanism is that if you exercise as an adolescent, you may be more likely to exercise as an adult, and you may be more likely to have healthy behaviors that then contribute to the reduced risk of death,” she told Live Science.

Nevertheless, no matter your age, exercise is great and great for you. Consider this your periodic reminder.


Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.

Photo via Getty.