Regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing serious health conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, heart disease, stroke, Type II Diabetes, and common cancers. A recent study published in the Journal Neurology tracked over 95,000 women for nearly 3 decades and found that regular exercise can reduce a woman's chance of developing Parkinson's Disease by 25%. According to a study in PLOS Medicine, moderate or vigorous intensity exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 57%, and there is no threshold for the amount of exercise required to achieve these benefits. Regular exercise can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, strengthen bones and muscles, prevent falls in the elderly, and improve overall health and wellbeing.
To achieve these health benefits, adults should aim to participate in 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week, according to the American Heart Association. Examples of moderate intensity exercise include walking briskly, playing badminton, gardening, or mowing the lawn, while examples of vigorous intensity exercise include jogging, running, weight-lifting, and playing competitive sports. However, only 1 in 5 adults are getting enough exercise weekly to maintain good health.
An optimal and effective healthcare system must prioritize preventative measures to curb the onset of serious health conditions and advance public health. Instead of focusing on developing treatments for diseases, a larger focus should be on education and lifestyle prevention measures such as exercise and a carbohydrate-restrictive diet. According to the CDC, nearly 110,000 deaths per year could be prevented if American adults aged 40 and above increased their physical activity by just 10 minutes. Family Health and Fitness Day on June 10 provides an opportunity for all of us to make a concerted and intentional effort to get up and exercise and prioritize our health and wellbeing.