Lack or absence of exercise could be as bad for your health as diabetes, smoking and heart disease, according to a new study.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, finds that cardiorespiratory fitness can lower the risk of death. And also, extremely high aerobic fitness was associated with the greatest survival and was associated with benefit in older patients and those with hypertension.
Wael Jaber, cardiologist, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, and colleagues conducted the study to assess the association of all-cause mortality and cardiorespiratory fitness in patients undergoing exercise treadmill testing.
Cardiorespiratory fitness is referred to a measure of how well your body is able to transport oxygen to your muscles while exercising. A person’s level of cardiovascular fitness tells how capable your muscles are in terms of absorbing oxygen.
For the study, the researchers followed up health, exercise and lifestyle data of 122,007 participants over 23 years. The participants of this study went through health tests at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic between 1991 and 2014.
- Women seemed to benefit more in terms of health when they included exercise in their routines. In addition, people of all ages benefited in terms of health when they exercised regularly.
- Participants who were “unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test” seemed to have a poorer outcome when it came to all-cause death rates compared to those who had diabetes, smoked or were hypertensive.
- Persons who did not exercise had a 500 percent raised risk of death compared to those who exercised.
- Those who got minimal exercise also had a 390 percent raised risk of death, they noted compared to those who regularly exercised.
Wael Jaber called these results as most “pronounced” and “objective” than ever seen before and also said that they were “surprising”.
According to the researchers, it is well known that being sedentary may be harmful to health but this is the first time a study has shown that not exercising could be worse than smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure and even “end-stage disease”.
Jaber explained that some are “ultra exercisers” who tend to push their bodies to extremes. It has been believed that extremes might be bad for health. Jaber said that they found that there is no “ceiling for the benefit of exercise.” This means that even “ultra exercisers” have a lower risk of dying compared to those who do not exercise.
The authors write, “Cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely associated with long-term mortality with no observed upper limit of benefit. Extremely high aerobic fitness was associated with the greatest survival and was associated with benefit in older patients and those with hypertension.”
The researchers noted that whole people of all ages and both genders benefitted from exercise, women benefited more than men. Jaber said that being sedentary now should be considered to be “a disease that has a prescription, which is called exercise.”
“Cardiorespiratory fitness is a modifiable indicator of long-term mortality, and health care professionals should encourage patients to achieve and maintain high levels of fitness,” conclude the authors.
For more information follow the link: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3605