We all know that exercise is supposed to be good for us, but now scientists have quantified it. They reckon that unfit men who later become fit as measured on a treadmill improve their chances of a longer life by 44 per cent.
And every additional minute on the treadmill corresponded to a 7.9 per cent reduction in risk of death from all causes.
The study, by the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas, tracked the health and fitness of 9,777 men of all ages over five years; during that time, 223 men died from all causes and a further 87 died from heart disease. Those considered unhealthy had a history of heart problems, stroke, diabetes or high blood pressure. They were also rated on the amount of exercise they had in a week. Of those who died, 103 were healthy men and 120 unhealthy.
The researchers admitted that hereditary factors could have influenced the death rate among the unhealthy men, although the reduction in risk of 44 per cent indicated that family genes is only a small influence (JAMA, April 12, 1995).