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Exercise Cuts Risk of Five Leading Causes of Death

Exercise Cuts Risk of Five Leading Causes of Death

(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Sunday, 25 September 2016 07:33 PM

If you could take a pill that could dramatically cut your risk of dying from five leading causes of death — without causing any negative side effects — would you take it?

If your answer is yes, a new study by French researchers offers both good and bad news.

The bad news: No such pill exists today.

The good: Getting 10-25 minutes of exercise each day can greatly reduce your risk of developing five leading causes of death: Breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

The research, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is first meta-analysis to quantify the dose-response association between physical activity and the risk of these five diseases.

The results suggest that total physical activity needs to be several times higher than the current minimum recommended by the World Health Organization.

But people who engage in regular activity — being more physically active at work, at home (through housework and gardening), and/or engaging in active exercise (such as walking and cycling) are far less likely to die from these conditions.

The WHO, citing many studies showing the health benefits of exercise, recommends a minimum total physical activity level of 600 metabolic equivalent (MET) minutes a week — a measure of the intensity of exercise. (1 MET stands for the amount of oxygen you consume and the number of calories you burn at rest).

For the new study, a team of researchers based in the U.S. and Australia analyzed 174 studies published between 1980 and 2016 examining the associations between total physical activity and at least one of five chronic diseases — breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and ischemic stroke.

They found that a higher level of physical activity was associated with a lower risk of all five conditions. Most health gains were seen at activity levels of 3000-4000 MET minutes a week.

The researchers said individuals can achieve 3000 MET minutes a week by incorporating different types of physical activity into their daily routine. Among them:

  • Climbing stairs for 10 minutes.
  • Vacuuming for 15 minutes.
  • Gardening for 20 minutes.
  •  Running for 20 minutes.
  • Walking or cycling for 25 minutes.

“With population aging, and an increasing number of cardiovascular and diabetes deaths since 1990, greater attention and investments in interventions to promote physical activity in the general public is required,” the researchers said.

“More studies using the detailed quantification of total physical activity will help to find a more precise estimate for different levels of physical activity.”

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Exercising can dramatically cut your risk of dying from five leading causes of death, a new study by French researchers finds.
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Sunday, 25 September 2016 07:33 PM
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