Sitting around is worse than smoking

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A new study shows that not exercising could be as bad for the health as smoking, heart disease and diabetes.

Jaber called the results "extremely surprising".

Researchers suggest that risks must be conveyed to the general public of being unfit should be considered a strong of a risk factor as is smoking, diabetes, and hypertension if not stronger than all of them; and should be treated as a disease that can actually be cured with the prescription of exercise.

Researchers retrospectively studied 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing at Cleveland Clinic between January 1, 1991, and December 31, 2014, to measure all-cause mortality relating to the benefits of exercise and fitness. Those with the lowest exercise rate accounted for 12% of the participants. The paper was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open. Researchers have always been concerned that "ultra" exercisers might be at a higher risk of death, but the study found that not to be the case. Jaber described it to CNN as a revelation and that there is no limit to the benefit of aerobic exercise. It found that any level of cardiovascular fitness-including the kind you'd see from elite athletes-is linked to staying alive longer.

When the subgroups were analyzed by age, the survival benefit of elite versus high performance was most notable in older patients.

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. "Everyone should be encouraged to achieve and maintain high fitness levels", said Wael Jaber, cardiologist at the institute. "We all know that a sedentary lifestyle or being unfit has some risk". Diabetes and heart disease, obviously not great, either.

Results showed that among respondents above 70, elite performers had a almost 30 per cent reduced risk of mortality compared to high performers.

Those that exercised minimally still had a 390 per cent higher risk associated with death compared to those that regularly exercised. In fact, a past study has even shown that simply replacing 30 minutes of sedentary time with 30 minutes of housework can benefit health, while another revealed that replacing 6 hours of sitting with 6 hours of standing can even help with weight loss. However, this study demonstrated that there is no limit to the benefits provided by exercise. But that isn't to say that exercise is only for people who are hoping to run a marathon. Although people have their own choices when it comes to their exercise routines, what's important is that they get their body moving.

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