Cardiofitness reduces death and disease by almost 20%

April 29, 2024

Run, cycle or swim – if you exercise regularly, you’re on track for a long and healthy life, as ground-breaking new research from the University of South Australia finds that an increased level of cardiovascular fitness will reduce your risk of death from any cause. cause in 11-17%.

Published in BJSM, the study found that for every 1 MET increase in cardiorespiratory fitness (the amount of energy used to sit quietly), a person can reduce their risk of death by 11 to 17%, and specifically, your risk of heart disease 18%.

Comprised of 26 systematic reviews with meta-analysis representing more than 20.9 million observations from 199 unique cohort studies, it is the first study to compile all scientific evidence that analyzed the prospective link between cardiorespiratory fitness and outcomes of health among adults.

Lead author Professor Grant Tomkinson of UniSA says cardiorespiratory fitness is probably the most important type of fitness for good health.

“Cardiorespiratory fitness (or CRF) is your ability to perform physical activity over a long period of time such as running, cycling and swimming,” says Professor Tomkinson.

“In this study we found that high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness reduce the risk of dying early from any cause.

“We summarized the evidence linking CRF to numerous health outcomes and found that those with low levels of CRF are much more likely to die early or develop chronic diseases such as heart disease later in life.

“Specifically, we found that each increase in 1-MET in CRF, which is the amount of energy used when sitting quietly, reduced the risk of premature death from any cause and heart failure by 11 to 17 percent and 18%, respectively.

“For most people, an increase in CRF 1-MET can be achieved through a regular aerobic exercise program.

“The message is quite simple: if you do a lot of ‘huff and puff’ exercise, your risk of dying early or developing disease in the future is reduced. If you avoid exercise, your health can suffer.”

Chronic health conditions are a constant cause of ill health, disability and premature death. In Australia, an estimated 11.6 million people (47%) have a chronic, debilitating disease, contributing to two-thirds of the disease burden.

Public Health Agency of Canada lead author and UniSA Adjunct Professor Dr. Justin Lang says the study provides a strong public health message that cardiorespiratory fitness is an important marker of state of health

“Clearly, cardiorespiratory fitness is an important factor in good health. If you’re already exercising, this is good news; but if you know you need to improve your fitness and movement, this is a timely reminder” , says Dr. Lang.

“People can make significant improvements through additional moderate physical activity, such as walking, at least 150 minutes a week. And as they improve their fitness, their risk of death and disease will decrease.

“But the responsibility for improvement should not only lie with the individual, but should also be routinely assessed in clinical and public health practice, so that we can support people to improve their your health outcomes.

“Through regular assessment, physicians and exercise professionals could better identify adults at increased risk of premature death and initiate exercise programs to increase CRI through regular physical activity.”

This study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the University of Granada, the University of Ottawa and the University of Northern British Columbia.

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Contact with media: Annabel Mansfield I: +61 479 182 489 E:

researchers: Prof Grant Tomkinson E:

Dr. Justin Lang E:

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