A group of researchers led by Per Ladenvall (University of Gothenburg in Sweden) have looked into the relationship between physical capacity and health. They studied 800 middle-aged men over a period of 45 years. Physical fitness was measured by VO2 max. The results showed that low physical fitness is a greater risk of death than high blood pressure or cholesterol. It was second only to smoking as a risk of death.
Several studies have linked prolonged sitting with increased risk of mortality. A meta-analysis of data from over a million people was recently conducted by Ekeland et al. They wanted to find out if physical activity could attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality. They found that “high levels of moderate intensity physical activity (about 60–75 min/day) seem to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time. However, this high activity level attenuates, but does not eliminate the increased risk associated with high TV-viewing time”.
Once again, the benefits of physical activity and physical fitness are clear. It’s up to us to make it a priority to move more, whether it’s through structured exercise or simply through the activities of daily living.
“We’re genetically programmed to respond favourably to movement and exercise,
there’s healing in motion.”
It’s well known that increasing the time spent doing moderate intensity physical activities has wide ranging benefits on health. Guidelines recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. What about those unable to engage in moderate or vigorous physical activities due to health issues? Could light physical activity work too?
A study by professor Dunlop et al. looked at the effects of physical activity in people with knee osteoarthritis or risk factors for knee osteoarthritis. As well as finding benefits to moderate activity, they found that spending more time doing light intensity physical activities reduced the risk of onset and progression of disability due to osteoarthritis. They concluded that “an increase in daily physical activity time may reduce the risk of disability, even if the intensity of that additional activity is not increased.”