A new study has found that regular exercise may help ward off at least five common diseases, demonstrating yet again the importance of regular physical activity for one’s health and wellbeing. Based on their analysis of 174 previously published studies, the researchers found that individuals who exercised more frequently throughout the week had lower risks of breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
The researchers used MET minutes – a measure of the amount of energy you burn during an exercise – to estimate how much activity is the most beneficial for the body.
The researchers found the biggest benefits at 3,000 to 4,000 MET minutes a week. A person can achieve 3,000 MET minutes by incorporating various activities throughout their day, including 10 minutes of climbing stairs, 15 minutes of vacuuming, 20 minutes of gardening, or 25 minutes of running, cycling, or swimming.
Lead author Hmwe Kyu said, “With population aging, and an increasing number of cardiovascular and diabetes deaths since 1990, greater attention and investments in interventions to promote physical activity in the general public is required. More studies using the detailed quantification of total physical activity will help to find a more precise estimate for different levels of physical activity.”