Exercise is Good For You
Exercise is good for you. Exercise has great value in the preventing and
control of arterial disease and diabetes.
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality in the United
States. Each year coronary heart disease is newly diagnosed in about 1.5 million
individuals at an estimated cost of $47 billion. Based on 1989 coronary heart
disease mortality data, the estimated cost of physical inactivity was $5.7
billion. Among other coronary heart disease risk factors, only elevated serum
cholesterol greater than 200 ug/dL had a higher estimated cost of $7 billion.
In one study, physical activity was associated with 78 fewer coronary heart disease
events and 1,138 quality adjusted life-years pined during a 30-year period. For
each quality adjusted life-year gained the direct cost was $1395 for a total of
$11,313, which is similar cost savings from other coronary heart disease
Research evidence has shown obvious benefits from physical activity.
Darren et al reviewed the evidence for the health benefits of exercise and
concluded that physical activity contributes to the primary and secondary
prevention of several chronic diseases and is associated with a reduced risk of
[i] They stated that: “Physical
inactivity is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a widening
variety of other chronic diseases, including diabetes mellitus, cancer (colon
and breast), obesity, hypertension, bone and joint diseases (osteoporosis and
osteoarthritis), and depression...
being fit or active was associated with
a greater than 50% reduction in risk . [ii] Modest
enhancements in physical fitness in previously sedentary people have been
associated with large improvements in health status. For instance, people who
went from unfit to fit over a 5-year period had a reduction of 44% in the
relative risk of death compared with people who remained unfit. “
A Canadian program including physical activity classes 2 to 3 times per week,
for 30 to 45 minutes per session, resulted in lower per capita medical claims at
the intervention site compared to the control site having no promotion of
physical activity. For each worker, the intervention program saved $679 in
medical claims per year, a return of $6.85 on each dollar invested Other
examples of work-site programs have been estimated to cost employers about $100
to $400 per employee, per year.
The estimated rate of return is about $513 per employee per year, including
reduced health care cost and reduced loss of productivity. Estimates suggest
that in the United States, 20,000 fewer persons would die per year if half of
these individuals with no leisure-time physical activity began to participate in
moderate activity, including brisk walking at a minimum of 2 to 3 times per
Exercise would improve weight control, enhance glucose tolerance and insulin
sensitivity, reduce blood pressure, improve coronary artery flow and enhance HDL
cholesterol levels. Emphasis should be placed on participation of a variety of
self-directed, moderate-level physical activities which include gardening, yard
work and walking with a goal of at least 30 minutes of activity per day at least
5 days per week.
[i] Darren E.R. Warburton, Crystal Whitney Nicol and
Shannon S.D. Bredin.
Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence.
CMAJ • March 14, 2006; 174 (6).
[ii] Myers J,
Kaykha A, George S, et al. Fitness versus physical activity patterns in
predicting mortality in men. Am J Med 2004;117:912-8