You probably already know that an above-average fitness level
can help prevent cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
This health measure is valuable to patients and doctors because
it is a noninvasive, inexpensive, and accurate method. But
how accurately does exercise capacity predict risk of death,
to other health measures?
The authors of a recent study in The New England Journal
of Medicine examined data on more than 6,000 men who had
completed treadmill tests and were followed for an average
of six years. The men were divided into two groups: those
with normal exercise-test results and no cardiovascular disease,
and those with abnormal test results and/or a history of cardiovascular
disease. Exercise capacity was estimated based on the grade
and speed settings of the treadmill.
Peak exercise capacity was the best predictor of death in
both healthy individuals and those with cardiovascular disease.
In other words, men who were able to work out longer and harder
were the most likely to live longer. Those with cardiovascular
disease were older and used more medications.
Exercise capacity may be a better predictor of risk of death
in men than other established factors associated with cardiovascular
disease, including smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and other
exercise variables. Do not underestimate the value of regular
exercise: It is clearly one of the best methods of promoting
longevity and warding off disease.
Myers J, Prakash M, Froelicher V, et al. Exercise capacity
and mortality among men referred for exercise testing. The
New England Journal of Medicine 2002:346(11), pp. 793-801.
To find out more about the benefits of sports and fitness,
go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/sports.