A new study from the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh reveals that regular exercise may prevent an average of 15% of deaths worldwide. That's 3.9 million deaths saved globally by physical activity.
According to Well + Good, researchers looked at data from 168 countries and determined what portion of the population exercises at a moderate to intense level for 150 minutes weekly, a minimum proposed by the World Health Organization. They compared these numbers with the risks for premature death that exercise mitigates to come up with their estimate of how many deaths exercise could prevent.
In a news release, the authors said they were zeroing in on the positive benefits of exercise, and said that too many studies focus on the negative effects of poor lifestyles.
"Can we look instead at population activity levels and estimate the health benefits of all this activity to society?" said Dr. Paul Kelly of the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh. The study revealed that for low-income countries, an average of 18% premature deaths were averted by physical activity compared to 14% of high-income countries. In the U.S., 140,200 early deaths were averted.
They mentioned six ways to keep active even during a lockdown:
- Take a walk daily while maintaining social distancing.
- Bike ride outdoors or use a stationary bicycle.
- Do stretching exercises or yoga for your muscles and joints.
- Plant a garden. Weeding and pruning are great for stretching your body.
- Spend time walking in nature or a green space to add mental and emotional benefits to your physical activity.
- Join an online exercise session.
People who live in what experts call the Blue Zones have long known that exercise is one of the key pillars to living their legendary long lives, according to Well + Good. Residents of Blue Zones such as Icaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California, do not formally exercise but make movement part of their lifestyle. It's not unusual for people in these areas to celebrate their 100th birthdays, according to Well + Good. Their physical activity is derived from gardening, raising farm animals, walking, and doing other chores.
Dr. Rob Silverman, author of "Inside-Out Health: A Revolutionary Approach to Your Body," told Newsmax that the new study reveals that aerobic fitness is one of the most important predictors of longevity. "Study after study shows that the fitter you are, the longer you are likely to live," he said.
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