The Importance of Exercise
We all know exercise is good for us but let’s look at what the studies have shown.
World Health Organization (WHO) ranked physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, i.e. 6% of deaths globally . It has been estimated that 21-25% of breast and colon cancers, 27% of diabetes, and approximately 30% of ischaemic heart disease burden can be attributed to physical inactivity.
Exercise and chronic disease
The University of British Columbia conducted a review of the health benefits of physical activity and concluded that:
“We confirm that there is irrefutable evidence of the effectiveness of regular physical activity in the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis) and premature death.”
The World Cancer Research Fund states in their Research. WCRFiAwAIfC. 2014. Continuous Update Project Report: Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Breast Cancer Survivors World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research:
“Physical activity has an effect on several bodily systems including endocrinologic, immunologic and metabolic processes which can, in turn, affect the risk for development of several cancers. Being physically active also helps to maintain a healthy weight and protect against cancer”
Exercise reduces pain
A study conducted by the University of North Carolina found that exercise can assist patients with chronic pain conditions. They concluded:
“When applied to chronic pain conditions within appropriate parameters (frequency, duration, intensity), physical activity significantly improves pain and related symptoms”
A study in the Netherlands found that exercise reduced knee pain. The review investigated 31 heterogeneous trials consisting of 1690 participants with patellofemoral pain (the most common cause of knee pain ) and concluded:
” exercise therapy for PFPS,” [Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) resulted in] “reduction in pain and improvement in functional ability, as well as enhancing long-term recovery”
A study conducted by the University of NSW in 2014, found that people who exercise regularly have a higher pain threshold than others.
Exercise and Lower Back Pain
A literature review 21 different randomised clinical trials, which include 30 850 unique participants found that
“exercise alone or in combination with education is effective for preventing lower back pain”
Exercise and stress
A review of 169 studies from Yale University concluded:
Preliminary evidence suggests that combining stress management programming with exercise interventions may allay stress-related reductions in PA,
Exercise and Insomnia
A study of 48 individuals was conducted by the Unversity of San Paulo with chronic insomnia completed a 6-month exercise training protocol, randomized to morning and late-afternoon exercise groups. they concluded:
Acute moderate-intensity aerobic exercise reduced pre-sleep anxiety and improved sleep for chronic insomnia
Exercise and Appetite
Exercise has been proven to subside the appetite produce hormone ghrelin in a study conducted by Loughborough University and concluded:
“For those desiring weight loss there may be some merit in performing exercise in the postprandial period as a means of enhancing the satiating effect of a meal”
Exercise and Workplace productivity and mood
A study conducted by of with 201 volunteer respondents by the University of Bristol, across three workplaces (two private companies, one public service organisation) were purposefully selected for their provision of on‐site exercise facilities, size (>250 employees) and large proportion of sedentary occupations. Two mood diary questionnaires were distributed to employees exercising on‐site only.
The study concluded that mood improved on exercise days, pre‐to‐post exercise and work performance indicators were higher on exercise days versus no exercise days NExD. Positive changes in performance outcomes were almost exclusively linked to changes in mood
Exercise and the Gut
The University of Gothenburg conducted a review of irritable bowel syndrome and physical exercise concluded that “Physical activity is associated with improved IBS symptoms and psychological parameters in the long term”
Exercise and Memory
A study conducted by the University of Maryland on 26 adults aged between 55 and 85 years suggests that exercise may improve memory