It’s no surprise to hear that exercise is good for you. But did you know how terrible not exercising can be? Recent research indicates that a sedentary lifestyle could be worse for your health than smoking, diabetes or heart disease.

If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely you’ve got a healthy interest in fitness and appreciate the value of regular exercise. Whatever you do, stick at it. Because new research indicates that those who cut out exercise may cut their life short.

Led by Dr Wael Jaber a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, the study looked at 25 years of data from 122,000 patients. Using results from treadmill stress tests, researchers identified the link between cardiorespiratory fitness and long-term mortality, highlighting how increased cardio fitness goes hand-in-hand with a longer life.

Jaber explains, “With every increment of time spent on the treadmill during the exercise stress test, there is a benefit as far as mortality.” He adds that the dosage of exercise is almost like giving medication, and the higher the dose of medication the greater the effect.

The research indicates that the transition from a sedentary lifestyle to regular aerobic exercise provides benefits that are on par with the benefits that come from taking medications for high blood pressure, for high cholesterol, or not smoking. In an interview with CNN Jaber is quoted as saying, “Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker.”

Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research says that we’ve long-known the benefits of fitness, but what’s surprising about this study is how it reveals there is no limit to the benefit of aerobic exercise. “The researchers were not able to identify a tipping point where increased cardiac fitness starts to negatively impact longevity. It seems the fitter you are, the better!”

Hastings says another positive finding is that increased longevity from higher levels of fitness is something that can be enjoyed by all, as the benefits of aerobic exercise were not unique to any specific age group or gender.

“This is great news as it indicates that anyone can modify – even reverse – the long-term negative effects of modern sedentary life, all it takes is the right exercise prescription.”

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