Written by Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS.  In a study of 5,738 men, researchers found that 30 minutes of physical activity per day, 6 days per week significantly  reduced the overall risk of death (mortality) by 49%.

Jack LaLanne once said “Exercise is king, nutrition is queen. Put them together and you have a kingdom.” Research has found that exercise decreases overall risk of death by as much as 60% (1, 2), including the elderly (3), for those who exercise regularly compared to those who do not. When it comes to quitting smoking and reducing your risk of death, a 2008 study found that within 5 years of quitting smoking, risk of death from all causes drops by 13%, from heart disease by 47%, and from stroke by 25% (4).

Now a new study (5) suggests that increasing physical activity and quitting smoking may carry similar health benefits. In the study, researchers analyzed data from the Oslo I and II Cardiovascular Disease Study. Eligible subjects who were initially recruited between in 1972 for the Oslo I study (14,846 men) (6) were brought back for a follow-up exam in 2000 for the Oslo II study (5,738 men) (7). Physical activity was assessed with the Gothenburg questionnaire (8) which has been validated in previous research (9).

The researchers found that 30 minutes of physical activity per day, 6 days per week produced a 49% reduction in overall risk of death (mortality) (p < 0.001). For those who did vigorous activity (defined as “hard training or competitive sports regularly several times a week”), this added up to living 5 years longer than those who were sedentary (“reading, watching television or other sedentary occupation”). When they looked at men who had a history of smoking and smoking cessation, they found “the degree of physical activity at leisure was almost as predictive as smoking with regard to the effects on mortality” and that “Increase in physical activity was as beneficial as smoking cessation in reducing mortality.”

The researchers went on to conclude that “Increased physical activity was as beneficial as smoking cessation in reducing all-cause mortality” and that “Public health strategies to reduce risk in elderly men should concentrate highly on promoting increased physical activity in their action plans.” But a note of caution should be made that this is an observational study, so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. The researchers also pointed out that only the healthiest participants from Oslo I took part in Oslo II, so this may have lowered overall absolute risk of death between smoking cessation and physical activity.

Source: Holme, I., and Sigmund Alfred Anderssen. “Increases in physical activity is as important as smoking cessation for reduction in total mortality in elderly men: 12 years of follow-up of the Oslo II study.” British journal of sports medicine 49.11 (2015): 743-748.

Click here to read the full text study.

Posted June 2, 2015. r/aj

Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Hauppauge, NY.  You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at PitchingDoc@msn.com or visiting his web site at www.PitchingDoc.com.


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