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Leisure Time Exercise Better Than Work-Related Physical Activity

1 year, 1 month ago

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Posted on Jun 25, 2021, 8 p.m.

What can improve your mood, boost your ability to fend off infection, and lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer? The answer is regular exercise. It may seem too good to be true, but it's not. Hundreds of studies demonstrate that exercise helps you feel better and live longer.

Despite positive research, the numbers are shocking. Just two out of 10 American adults meet recommended levels of physical activity. Nearly three out of 10 Americans ages 6 and older admit they aren’t active at all, despite reams of research proving that exercise is a powerful preventive, and sometimes an antidote, for disability and illness.

Although exercise guidelines encourage all types of physical activity, a new study suggests that while leisure-time activity promotes cardiovascular health, job-related activity does not.

The study included than 104,000 men and women ages 20 to 100 living in Copenhagen who rated their leisure and work-related physical activity as low, moderate, high, or very high. After an average follow-up of 10 years, researchers found that the more leisure-time activity people reported, the lower their risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. In contrast, the people who got most of their physical activity on the job were more likely to experience those cardiovascular problems.

These findings held after researchers adjusted for factors such as lifestyle habits, health conditions (such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol), and socioeconomic status that could sway the results. One possible explanation: compared with leisure exercise, work activity doesn’t raise a person’s heart rate enough to improve fitness. The study was published on April 9, 2021, in the European Heart Journal.

This article was written by Julie Corliss, at Harvard Health Publishing

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 making any changes to your wellness routine.

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