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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

How fitness boosts health

Wednesday November 17th, 2010

Dozens of physical and mental problems can be prevented by regular exercise, according to a major study of the benefits of fitness published yesterday.

Heart disease, stroke and late onset diabetes are well known to be linked to lack of fitness.

Depression and some kinds of cancer may also be averted by regular exercise, according to Leslie Alford, of the University of East Anglia, UK.

And fitness also slows down the ageing of the body, he says.

His findings have been published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice and are based on an analysis of more than 40 pieces of research in the last four years.

He identifies more than 20 conditions that can be reduced by regular exercise.

An hour a day spent walking or cycling seems to cut cancer risk by 16 per cent, he reports.

His analysis suggests that adults need to spend as much as 150 minutes a week on moderate exercise. Joggers may need just 60 minutes a week.

His research focused on the benefits for men - but he says they apply to women also.

He said: "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.

"The more of these healthy traits an individual has, the less likely they are to develop a range of chronic disorders. Even if people can’t give up smoking and maintain a healthy weight, they can still gain health benefits from increasing the amount of regular exercise they take."

He added: "Physical inactivity results in widespread pathophysiological 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 men should know about the impact of physical activity on their health. Alford L. IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice. 64.13, pp 1731-1734. (December 2010). DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02478.x

Tags: Cancer | Diabetes | Fitness | Heart Health | Menís Health | UK News

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