A decades-long study published today shows that a low physical activity level can increase your risk of dying so much that it is second only to smoking. The research is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
A press release details the basics of the study, which followed 792 men who were 54-years-old in 1967 when the subjects did an exercise test in which they pushed themselves to the limit. The men were followed up until 2012. Physical examinations were performed once a decade and data about the men’s cause of death was collected from the National Cause of Death Registry.
Low aerobic capacity was linked to increased rates of death. The effect of aerobic capacity on risk of death was found to be second only to smoking.
“The benefits of being physically active over a lifetime are clear,” said lead author Dr. Per Ladenvall, a Swedish researcher at the University of Gothenburg. “Low physical capacity is a greater risk for death than high blood pressure or high cholesterol.”
Dr. Ladenvall concluded: “We have come a long way in reducing smoking. The next major challenge is to keep us physically active and also to reduce physical inactivity, such as prolonged sitting.”
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Studies in the past have proven that sedentary ways could be harmful to health. Lack of exercise contributes to obesity, hypertension, diabetes and depression.
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