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Cardio Fitness Reduces Death And Disease By Close To 20%

1 month, 3 weeks ago

7506  0
Posted on Apr 30, 2024, 7 p.m.

Whether it be racquetball, swimming, running, cycling, rowing, pickleball, or rollerskating, if you exercise on a regular basis you are on track to living a long and healthy life according to research published in BJSM from the University of South Australia (UniSA) that found an increased cardio fitness level can help to reduce your risk of death from any cause by 11 to 17%. The study showed that for every 1-MET increase in cardiorespiratory fitness (the amount of energy used in quiet sitting), a person can reduce their risk of death by 11-17%, and specifically the risk of death from heart disease by 18%.  

The study was comprised of data from 26 systematic reviews with a meta-analysis that represented over 20.9 million observations from 199 unique cohort studies, looking at the perspective link between cardiorespiratory fitness and health outcomes among adults. 

"Cardiorespiratory fitness (or CRF) is your ability to perform physical activity for a long period of time like running, cycling, and swimming," said senior author, UniSA's Professor Grant Tomkinson, explaining that cardiorespiratory fitness is probably the most important type of fitness to promote optimal health. 

"In this study, we found prolonged cardiorespiratory fitness is strongly and consistently associated with all types of premature death and incident disease -- spanning heart failure, depression, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer,” said Tomkinson. "We summarised the evidence linking CRF to numerous health outcomes and found that those with low levels of CRF are far more likely to die early or develop chronic conditions like heart disease later in life.”

"Specifically, we found that every 1-MET increase in CRF, which is the amount of energy used when sitting quietly, reduced the risk of early death from any cause and heart failure by 11-17% and 18%, respectively,” adds the professor. "For most people, a 1-MET increase in CRF can be achieved through a regular aerobic exercise program. The message is quite simple: if you do a lot of "huff and puff" exercise, then your risk of dying early or developing diseases in the future is reduced. If you avoid exercise your health may suffer."

Around the globe, chronic health conditions are an ongoing cause of poor health, disability, and premature death. In Australia alone, an estimated 11.6 million people (47%) have chronic and debilitating health conditions, contributing to two-thirds of the burden of disease.

"Clearly, cardiorespiratory fitness is as an important factor for good health. If you are already exercising, this is good news; but if you know you need to up your fitness and movement, then this is a timely reminder," said lead author from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Adjunct Professor at UniSA. "People can make meaningful improvements through additional moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, at least 150 minutes a week. And as they improve their fitness, their risk of death and disease will decline.”

"But the onus for improvement should not just sit with the individual, it should also be routinely assessed in clinical and public health practice, so that we can support people to improve their health outcomes,” adds Lang. "Through regular assessment, clinicians and exercise professionals could better identify adults at greater risk of early death and initiate exercise programs aimed at increasing CRF through regular physical activity."


As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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