January 20, 2019

Not exercising worse for your health than smoking

24 October 2018, 10:32 | Rodolfo Wallace

Modal Trigger iStock

Modal Trigger iStock

What food you eat, what habits you adopt or drop, and even how much sleep you get can have serious impacts on your wellbeing, but a new study by cardiologists reveals that of all the things you can do that might negatively impact your health, a sedentary lifestyle is the most deadly.

The findings were based on the retrospective study of 122,007 patients who went through testing at Ohio's Cleveland Clinic over the course of 23 years, between 1991 and 2014. Researchers analyzed mortality rates among volunteers, their history of disease and overall physical condition. He called these results as most "pronounced" and "objective" than even seen before and also said that they were "surprising". Indicator of increased risk of 500%.

In fact, the study claims not exercising might be more harmful to your health than smoking. As benefits were seen across all ages and sexes in this study. So, there's no level of exercise that is a risk.

"There is no level of exercise or fitness that exposes you to risk", he said. Those that did not perform very well on the treadmill testing were found to have had nearly double the risk of people with kidney failure on dialysis.

What made the study so unique, beyond the sheer number of people studied, he said was that researchers weren't relying on patients self-reporting their exercise. Then, using social security and medical records, they tracked if and when the patients died. "This is us testing them and figuring out objectively the real measure of what they do".

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Those that exercised minimally still had a 390 per cent higher risk associated with death compared to those that regularly exercised.

"If you compare the risk of sitting versus the highest performing on the exercise test, the risk is about three times higher than smoking", Jaber explained.

Meanwhile, those that didn't do well on the treadmill test were said to have nearly two times the health risks as those with kidney failure on dialysis.

The authors write, "Cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely associated with long-term mortality with no observed upper limit of benefit".

Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, who was not involved in the study, said this reinforces what we know. But that isn't to say that exercise is only for people who are hoping to run a marathon. "It's all about getting up and moving". Doctors have become good at treating patients with prescriptions for the symptoms of CVD, but these events can be treated.

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