Skipping workouts worse for health than smoking, diabetes, study says


Diabetes and heart disease certainly affect your health. However, not exercising may be even more detrimental, according to a new report. 

>> On AJC.com: Study: This common household chore is as damaging as smoking 20 cigarettes a day

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic recently conducted a study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open, to determine the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and long-term mortality. 

To do so, they examined 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing between 1991 and 2014. The analysts then measured all causes of mortality in relation to the benefits of exercise and fitness, factoring in age, sex, height, weight, BMI, medications and other illnesses. 

After analyzing the results, they found cardiorespiratory fitness was directly linked to reduced long-term mortality. And the benefits of exercise were boundless.

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“Aerobic fitness is something that most patients can control. And we found in our study there is no limit to how much exercise is too much,” co-author Wael Jaber said in a statement. “Everyone should be encouraged to achieve and maintain high fitness levels.”

The team also compared fitness to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and smoking and discovered a sedentary lifestyle is worst for your health than the aforementioned illnesses. In fact, the risk of not exercising was “significantly greater” than the clinical risk factors of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and smoking.

The authors said they were particularly interested in the relationship between high fitness and mortality, revealing the topic had never been looked at using on such a large scale. 

>> On AJC.com: Eat this meat twice a week to avoid heart attacks and strokes

They believe their findings emphasize the long-term effects of exercise and fitness regardless of age and hope to encourage patients to be more active. 

Read the study here.


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