Exercise and Disease Prevention

17 10 2008

Not long ago, physicians used to advise individuals with chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma and heart disease to avoid exercise, thinking that excessive physical activity would cause more problems. However, today there is evidence that exercise does in fact prevent and even treat these commonly occurring illnesses.

Research indicates that exercise can help diminish the pain and joint damage caused by arthritis, decrease asthma attacks and the need for medication, and ease anxiety and depression. With a combination of diet and exercise diabetics can see a 45% improvement in their condition, when compared to just diet alone.

The American Heart Association has stated that the leading cause of heart disease is physical inactivity. Regular exercise helps to strengthen the heart, reduce blood pressure, improve a person’s cholesterol levels and give the coronary arteries greater flexibility, all contributing to preventing the development of heart disease.

Even your cancer risk may be reduced by regular exercise. Evidence links exercise to a reduced occurrence of breast tumors, colon cancers and other malignancies. One study from the University of Southern California found that “women who participate in four or more hours of physical activity per week during their reproductive years reduce their risk of breast cancer by 60 percent, compared to inactive women” Additionally exercise has also been found to ease the side effects of chemotherapy and improve adherence to cancer treatments.

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