It should no longer be breaking news if a new study supports what we already know: Staying active promotes better long-term health and reduces disease.
The latest evidence of the benefits of exercise comes from a recent study in the UK that found that not only are those who exercise less at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but the more activity they get, the lower the risk.
In a study recently published in PLOS Medicine, researchers measured the physical activity of 90,211 participants using an accelerometer, a small motion sensor that was attached to their wrists for a period of seven days between 2013 and 2015. From there, they tracked each person's health for an average of five years.
Of all participants, 3,617 cases of cardiovascular disease were diagnosed during the five-year follow-up period. Most patients diagnosed with heart disease smoked more, had higher body mass indexes, and were diagnosed with high blood pressure. They were also in the lowest category of physical activity, according to the study.
The study also showed that there was no threshold to decrease benefits for increased physical activity and cardiovascular disease. Those who exercised the most had between 49% and 57% less chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
"The results of this study increase confidence that physical activity is likely an important way to prevent cardiovascular disease," said Terry Dwyer, Oxford Professor of Epidemiology and lead author of the study. "The potential risk reduction estimated in people with a relatively high level of activity is significant and warrants a greater emphasis on measures to increase physical activity in the community."
Another lead author, Oxford Associate Professor Aiden Doherty, said the study supports the World Health Organization's recommendations that adults should engage in at least 20 to 45 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
"It shows that physical activity is probably even more important than previously thought to prevent cardiovascular disease."
In other words, exercise – any type of exercise that occurs for a relatively short period of time each day will benefit you and your heart in the long run. But you already knew that.