Exercise remains one of the most powerful interventions for promoting health and preventing disease. An article in the BMJ reviewed 174 studies published over 25 years. The scientists evaluated the amount of physical activity people were engaging in and their chances of developing five chronic health problems.
Which Chronic Health Problems Were Less Common Among Exercisers?
Those who were most active were least likely to develop diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, heart attacks or strokes. The greatest gains were seen among people who expended 3,000 to 4,000 MET minutes a week compared to those moving less than 600 MET minutes. The MET minute is a way of factoring in intensity of exercise along with the amount of time spent doing it. Other research has suggested that people who exercise regularly are less prone to develop dementia, another greatly feared and common chronic condition.
How Much Exercise Does It Take?
The investigators say that current exercise recommendations are too low to provide the best protection from chronic health problems. They conclude that “greater attention and investments in interventions to promote physical activity in the general public is required.”
We discussed the benefits of exercise with James Blumenthal, PhD, in our Show #1034. He has done ground-breaking research on controlling or reversing depression with physical activity.