Workout Now for a Health Payoff Later

Posted 01/11/2016 | By HealthCorps

A new study reveals that young adults who work out on a regular basis may have a better cardiovascular health profile and higher survival odds later on in life. Are you ready to exercise now?

The study, which took place during 1985 to 1986, involved 4900 young adults ages 18-30, who performed treadmill tests. Half the group was then re-assessed with treadmill testing seven years later. The treadmill tests incorporated up to nine two-minute stages of gradually increased difficulty, so the adults experienced ongoing physical challenge. The group was then further scrutinized over several decades for rates of obesity, coronary artery disease (CAD), heart muscle weakness, heart attacks and strokes. Half of the subjects were successfully tracked for 27 years.

Data shows that about 273 of the participants died, but only 73 of those deaths were linked to cardiovascular disease causation. An additional 193 subjects survived a heart attack or stroke. Of particular interest was the fact that for each minute that a subject lasted during the treadmill test as a young adult (baseline), there was a 12% lower risk of developing heart disease, and a 15% lower risk of dying by the end of the full study period.

Each one minute that a subject lasted on the treadmill was also associated with less strain on the heart. Exercise duration did not seem to impact CAD risk. Among those retested at the seven year mark, each one minute of reduction of duration (meaning less exercise tolerance) on the treadmill, was associated with a 20% increase of heart events and a 21% greater odds of death. These finding were controlled for obesity, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. That’s important because it means that exercise should really be considered as more than just a weight loss or weight balance tool. It clearly has impact on other health variables.

Though some of the subjects may have also improved their dietary choices during the years of this long study, the results really serve as a confirmation of the importance of an exercise habit. The results also highlight the downside of too much sedentary time. Commitment to daily exercise, as well as throughout the day physical movement can clearly help to limit heart disease and possibly extend your lifespan. What are you waiting for??? Get moving!!

Source: Reuters Health
JAMA Internal Medicine

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