Weekly Wellness: The treatment is activity
COLUMBIA - Did you know that there are 35 ailments that can be treated with exercise? In new research, it has been scientifically proven that there are 35 chronic diseases and health conditions that regular exercise and physical activity prevent.
Why is it that we are focusing on exercise as the preventable method? Well, this might surprise you: 92 percent of adolescents and 95 percent of adults in the U.S. do not meet minimum guidelines for physical activity. Why is this important to note? Because in this research, it was found that low cardiorespiratory fitness is a more accurate predictor of death than the other risk factors such as hypertension, smoking, diabetes and exercise-test variables, including abnormal electrocardiographic indicators, or the development of heart irregularities (e.g., arrhythmias) during exercise.
Regular physical activity and exercise are a primary prevention factor for 35 chronic health conditions, according to researchers. They are:
- Low cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2max)
- Coronary heart disease
- Endothelial dysfunction
- Peripheral artery disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Accelerated biological aging/premature death
- Type 2 diabetes (including insulin resistance and prediabetes)
- Metabolic syndrome
- Colon cancer
- Breast cancer
- Endometrial cancer
While the conditions below are not discussed in the article or are mentioned only briefly, there is evidence that physical activity is helpful in their prevention as well:
- Balance problems
- Bone fracture/falls
- Gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Erectile dysfuntion
- Hemostasis (blocked blood flow)
- Deep vein thrombosis
Research proves that physical inactivity elevates the likelihood of physical frailty or premature death, decreases years of high-quality life, lowers cardiorespiratory reserve to handle physiological stresses (such as major surgery) and heightens the risk of chronic diseases.
The take-away is this: get moving.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
Aerobic activity: Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. You also can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week.
Strength training: Do strength training exercises at least twice a week. No specific amount of time for each strength training session is included in the guidelines.