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Regular Exercise: Antidote for Deadly Diseases?

Posted by Molly Hunsinger on Aug 10, 2016 11:51:27 AM

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High levels of physical activity linked to lower risk for two cancers, diabetes, heart disease and stroke

TUESDAY, Aug. 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Getting lots of exercise may reduce your risk for five common diseases, a new report suggests.

Researchers analyzed 174 studies published between 1980 and 2016, and found that people with high levels of weekly physical activity had a lower risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The investigators used a formula called MET minutes to estimate how much activity offered the greatest health benefit. MET minutes measure how much energy you burn during physical activity.

The study findings showed the biggest benefit at 3,000 to 4,000 MET minutes a week. A person could get 3,000 MET minutes by weaving activity into their daily routine -- for example, 10 minutes of climbing stairs; 15 minutes of vacuuming; 20 minutes of gardening; 20 minutes of running; and 25 minutes of walking or cycling.

"With population aging, and an increasing number of cardiovascular and diabetes deaths since 1990, greater attention and investments in interventions to promote physical activity in the general public is required," lead author Hmwe Kyu wrote. Kyu is an acting assistant professor at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle.

"More studies using the detailed quantification of total physical activity will help to find a more precise estimate for different levels of physical activity," the study concluded.

The study was published Aug. 9 in the journal BMJ.

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, reacted to the findings in an accompanying editorial.

The editorial noted that while the study brings together diverse data on exercise and disease prevention, "it cannot tell us whether risk reductions would be different with short duration intense physical activity or longer duration light physical activity."

The editorial said future studies "must streamline their measurement and reporting for real gains in knowledge."

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.--

SOURCE: BMJ, news release, Aug. 9, 2016

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Topics: Fitness, Workout, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease

Molly Hunsinger

Written by Molly Hunsinger

Molly Hunsinger is a communications professional and certified group exercise instructor and fitness trainer. Her medical, health and fitness industry background spans nearly three decades with experience working as an instructor trainer, staff trainer, facility manager, group exercise program manager, physician relations manager and marketing director. As a media professional, she has developed and launched award-winning allied marketing and advertising campaigns for luxury retailers, leading nonprofit organizations and foundations and written numerous articles and blogs for both digital and print publications. Molly holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida with a concentration in journalism and digital media studies.