Posted on Nov 29, 2010, 6 a.m.
People who engage in regular exercise may reduce their risk of developing around two dozen physical and mental health conditions, and slow down age-related deterioration.
Previous studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risks of chronic diseases and premature death. Leslie Alford from the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom) reviewed 40 scientific studies covering the latest international research on physical activity and longevity, published between 2006 and 2010. The literature reviewed revealed the role of lifestyle, place of residence, and risk factors including obesity, diet, smoking and exercise. The study revealed that:
• Regular moderate to intense physical activity is associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease and ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
• A growing body of evidence suggests that increasing physical activity can also reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity and high blood pressure.
• Evidence of the beneficial effects of physical activity in the primary prevention and management of cancer is growing and there is an association between higher levels of physical activity and lower cancer death rates.
• There is growing evidence that physical activity could decrease the risk of dementia in the elderly.
The review urges for healthy adults ages 18 and 65 years to engage in 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking, five days a week. Those who wish to undertake more vigorous intensity exercise, such as jogging, should aim for 20 minutes three days a week. As well, the study encourages healthy adults to aim for two strength-training sessions a week that work with the body's major muscle groups.
L. Alford. “What men should know about the impact of physical activity on their health.” International Journal of Clinical Practice, Volume 64, Issue 13, 12 November 2010.