The benefits of exercise are constantly being written about, both in the popular press, medical publications and the media. This is especially true in articles that are geared to senior citizens.
The question, however, is whether this information is truly accurate, or is it mostly hype? Perhaps if we just exercised occasionally, would that be good enough to maintain good health?
For example, if I asked you to rank the following disease/conditions on a rank of least harmful (1) to most harmful (5), which one would you choose as least harmful? Here they are:
- Not exercising
If you ranked ‘Not exercising’ as least harmful (1), you lose, big time. In fact, according to a recent study by cardiologists at the Cleveland Clinic, ‘Not Exercising’ scores a (5), ‘most harmful’.
Benefits of Exercise: It’s Not Hype
Just how bad is not exercising? Very, very bad, says a new JAMA Network Open study by these cardiologists, who found that being a couch potato increases your risk for premature death. Your risk is even greater than for serious diseases such as smoking, hypertension or diabetes. Imagine that!
In fact, when you compare the lowest scores on a treadmill stress test to the highest scores — the lowest scorers had a 500 per cent risk of premature death. So, you are five times more likely to die from being sedentary, compared to the highest scorers and exercisers. On the other hand, smokers’ premature death risk is 1.4 times higher — while the risk factor for diabetics is 1.3 times higher.
In addition, the Cleveland Clinic cardiologists, led by Dr. Jaber, M.D.; report that life-extending benefits of consistent exercise applies across the board. It benefits men and women in their 40’s and into their 70’s. Indeed, they report that the greatest benefits for longevity were found in senior citizens, aged 70 and older.
Dr.Jaber says, “I expected to see some survival benefit but expected it to be patchy, mostly maybe in the 50s” He continues, “I didn’t expect to see it in the very young… those in their 40s, and I did not expect to see it in the very old.” For senor citizens, sticking to scheduled exercise regimen every week had tremendous benefits. It increased their longevity, even in seniors that had established heart disease such as coronary blockages.
The current study examined 25 years of data involving 122,000 patients. Cardiac fitness was measured by actual results of treadmill stress tests, not subjective individual reporting. This is a much more accurate measure compared to a patients’ self-reporting.
So, for any of exercise doubters that want to increase your chances of living longer, get out there and exercise!