Not exercising is worse for your health than smoking, study reveals

Henrietta Strickland
October 22, 2018

The risk associated with poor cardiorespiratory fitness was comparable to or even exceeded that of traditional clinical risk factors, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and smoking. The lowest exercise group accounted for only 12 percent of the total participants. However, the newly published study from Cleveland Clinic found that extreme fitness provided additional survival benefit over more modest levels of fitness, and that extremely fit patients lived the longest.

Breaking down the results, researchers found that people with sedentary lifestyles had 500 per cent higher risk associated with death than those categorized as being top exercise performers. "Once cleared by their physicians, patients shouldn't be afraid of exercise intensity".

There is no argument that exercise is good for you, but exactly what benefits-and how much benefit-you receive are somewhat up for debate. This is several times greater than the risk of dying from Smoking, diabetes, heart diseases and even fatal diseases in the last stages.

The risks, he said, became more shocking when comparing those who don't exercise much.

"People who do not perform very well on a treadmill test", Jaber said, "have nearly double the risk of people with kidney failure on dialysis".

"Cardiorespiratory fitness is a modifiable indicator of long-term mortality, and health care professionals should encourage patients to achieve and maintain high levels of fitness", said the researchers. "This is us testing them and figuring out objectively the real measure of what they do". For those patients with hypertension, the elite performers again showed a almost 30 percent reduction in all-cause mortality compared to high performers. Furthermore, they also found no upper limit to the benefits, which means that they saw no point at which "too much" cardiac fitness already leads to negative impacts on longevity. Sure, exercise contributes to better health, but not all workouts are the same, and different bodies benefit from different types of exercise.

Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, who was not involved in the study, said this reinforces what we know.

For patients, especially those who live a sedentary lifestyle, Jaber said, "You should demand a prescription from your doctor for exercise".

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