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Proof: Exercise Is the Best Life Saver

Bill Geiger, MA

Cleveland Clinic study reveals not exercising is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes, and heart disease.

You’ve heard the adage “exercise is the best medicine,” but now we have proof it’s true. A Cleveland Clinic retrospective study of more than 120,000 patients discovered that living a sedentary lifestyle takes a toll on your health and promoted aging that’s worse than smoking, diabetes, and heart disease.

In fact, in a CNN interview with senior author of the study, Dr. Wael Jaber, he said, “Being unfit should be considered as strong of a risk factor as hypertension, diabetes, and smoking—if not stronger than all of them. It should be treated almost as a disease that has a prescription, which is called exercise.”

Today, heart disease and diabetes are the two most expensive diseases to treat, yet outcomes for each can be improved with exercise. Despite extensive public-education campaigns, Americans are becoming increasingly over-fat and obese.

Jaber said the study showed that improved fitness leads to a longer life, with no upper limit on aerobic fitness. That is, the more you do, the better your health will be. In fact, the most active exercisers had a 500 percent lower risk of disease associated with death than sedentary individuals. “There actually is no ceiling for the benefit of exercise. There’s no age limit that doesn’t benefit from exercise.”

Living a sedentary lifestyle, Jaber said, increased the risk about three times more than smoking.

The study appeared in October’s Journal of the American Medical Association.