Early Death Risk Drops 50 Percent with Moderate Exercise, Study Finds

Feel your motivation to workout sinking deeper into the couch cushions as you munch on those Doritos? Better find the incentive to exercise, that is, if you want to keep laying on the couch and eating junk food into your Golden Years.

That’s because new research points to a significant reduction in the risk of early death for people with better cardio health. The findings, part of the Ford Exercise Testing Project (FIT Project), found a shocking 50 percent reduction in the risk of dying early from cardiac related illnesses in people who exercised and maintained better cardio health.

Medical data from more than 58,800 patients over an eighteen-year period was analyzed for the study, believed to be the largest research project of its kind to look at cardio health’s impact on early death.

The researchers looked the efficiency of hearts to transport blood and the bodies to use oxygen while patients increased speed and difficulty of walking (by increasing the incline). The researchers then compared that data with other risk factors for cardiovascular disease including age, gender, cholesterol, race, systolic blood pressure, smoking, blood pressure medication use and diabetes, which helped to categorize the subjects into risk groups rated from low to moderate to high. 

Then, the researchers looked at mortality among the groups, noting that the subjects who had a healthier cardiorespiratory performance had a whopping 50 percent reduction in the risk of dying early over the subjects who fell into the poor cardio performance category.

The researchers say the message is clear: exercise makes a difference, even a small amount, such as 30 minutes 3-4 times per week.

"Exercise is the single thing we can do to improve our fitness levels," Steven Keteyian, Henry Ford researcher and study coauthor told the Detroit Free Press. "Are there other factors (in risk of death)? Sure. But the one thing that is pliable is exercise levels," he said.

Image: Military Health


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