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Regular Exercise Reduces Large Number Of Health Risks Including Dementia and Some Cancers, Study Finds

Regular exercise can reduce many physical and mental health conditions and slow down how quickly the body ages, according to a research review summarizing the findings of 40 papers published between 2006 & 2010.

The report provides an invaluable source for both news and feature editors as it is divided into a number of key sections, ranging from: “Why should I exercise” to “I’m too busy, I don’t have time.” Health conditions covered by the review include: cancer, heart disease, dementia, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity and high
blood pressure.

People who take regular exercise could reduce their risk of developing around two dozen physical and mental health conditions including some cancers and dementia, as well as slowing down how quickly their body
deteriorates as they age.

An extensive research review, published in the December issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice, says that apart from not smoking, being physically active is the most powerful lifestyle choice any
individual can make to improve their health.

“The literature reviewed shows that how long people live and how healthy they are depends on a complex mix of factors, including their lifestyle, where they live and even luck” say researchers. “Individuals have an element of control over some of these factors, including obesity, diet, smoking and physical activity.

Although the focus of the study was on men’s health, the messages on physical activity are relevant to both sexes and all age groups.

Health benefits identified by the review include:

* Regular moderate to intense physical activity is associated with
decreased risk of coronary heart disease and ischaemic and
haemorrhagic stroke.

* A growing body of evidence suggests that increasing physical activity
can also reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, osteoporosis, type
2  diabetes, depression, obesity and high blood pressure.

* Evidence of the beneficial effects of physical activity in the primary
prevention and management of cancer is growing and there is an
association between higher levels of physical activity and lower cancer
death rates.

* Research has found that walking or cycling for at least an half-an-hour a
day is associated with a reduction in cancer and that when this is
increased to an hour cancer incidence falls by 16 per cent.

* Evidence is mixed when it comes to specific cancers. Research has
shown a strong relationship between increased physical activity and
reduced colon cancer in both sexes. And men who are more active
at work, not just sitting at a desk, have lower rates of prostate cancer.

* Other cancer studies show that physical activity after diagnosis can aid
recovery and improve outcomes.

* Studies have also shown that men who are physically active are less
likely to experience sexual performance problems.

* There is growing evidence that physical activity could decrease the risk
of dementia in the elderly.

Recommendations identified by the review include:

* Healthy adults aged between 18 and 65 should aim for 150 minutes of
moderate intensity physical activity a week, such as 30 minutes of brisk
walking, five days a week. And people who undertake more 
vigorous intensity exercise, such as jogging, should aim for 20 minutes
three days a week.

* Healthy adults should aim for two strength-training sessions a week that
work with the body’s major muscle groups.

* Older people can benefit from exercise that helps to maintain their
balance and flexibility.

* People who are physically active should continue to exercise even when
they become middle aged or elderly and those who aren’t should
increase their physical activity.

* Not smoking and following a healthy diet is also important.

Ideally, to gain maximum health benefits people should exercise, not smoke, eat a healthy diet and have a body mass index of less than 25.

Physical inactivity results in negative physiological changes to our bodies. It appears that our bodies have evolved to function optimally on a certain level of physically activity that many of us simply do not achieve in our modern, sedentary lifestyles.

“What is clear from the research is that men and women of all ages should be encouraged to be more physically active for the sake of their long-term health.”

Editor’s Note: This article is not a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, consult your physician for all medical issues. .

Journal Reference:
“What men should know about the impact of physical activity on their health.”  International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2010;

 

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