The plethora of studies showing the beneficial effects of exercise have been highlighted with an exclamation point by recent research published in the European J. of Preventative Cardiology. (1) The expression that sitting is the new smoking has been proven in a study with 40 years of followup showing that low aerobic capacity is an independent risk factor for mortality.
The Lancet virtually contemporaneously has published a study (2) showing the mitigating effects of moderate exercise, 60 to 75 minutes a day, to an inactive lifestyle.
The newest study used exercise testing and revealed progressively higher risk associated with progressively lower exercise capacity. Simply stated higher degrees of fitness were associated with lower degrees of mortality.
Physical activity has salutary effects on several physiologic measures including blood pressure, insulin resistance, lipid levels and hematologic parameters such as coagulation and fibrinolysis. One fascinating aspect of the study which seemed paradoxical was that fitness decreased mortality for kidney/liver disease and lung cancer but not directly for cardiovascular causes of death
I have been a proponent of wellness and prevention for having the most immediate and profound beneficial impact on health and to decrease costs. The science only becomes clearer...spend less on sick care and more on prevention. Addressing the social determinants of health and mandating the use of evidence based medicine must be our first priority. Improving diet, exercise, lifestyle, reducing recreational and occupational exposures as well as enhancing health literacy will lead us all to better health and dramatic cost savings.
The benefit of exercise to limit arthritis, create endorphin surges, enhance immunity are well documented. Now we must speak even louder as healthcare providers and admonish patients to "get out of your chair", "lose weight" and "quit smoking" to achieve our best health.
Nicolas Argy, MD, JD
Copyright © 2016 Nicolas Argy