A recent study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that only smokers died early at higher rates than couch potatoes! The study was the longest of its kind as researchers followed approximately 800 men for 50 years and concluded with this powerful message: poor physical fitness may be almost as bad for you as smoking…so make exercise a lifesaving priority.
Is there a secret to a long and healthy life? Do genes control our destiny? How does lifestyle impact our health? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while genes play and important role, lifestyle plays the biggest role on how healthy you are and how long you live. The food you eat, what you drink, if you smoke, how active you are and how you handle stress are critical factors that determine your longevity. The NIH research has found that smoking, physical inactivity, and poor eating habits are the leading causes of death, in that order.
Physical activity is one of the most important factors in improving a lifestyle in a positive way. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days per week can greatly contribute to longevity. Most experts agree that moderation is important. If you overindulge with exercise you will be at greater risk for musculoskeletal injuries. This is especially true for those who are newcomers. The goal is to gradually work into a fitness program and maintain it for life.
Researchers have found that the benefits of regular physical activity are numerous. Some of the more important benefits are:
Some simple suggestions for beginning an exercise program are:
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.
Keep moving, eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and live long and well!
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This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.