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Study: Lack of Exercise Is Worse Than Smoking

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

exercise lengthens life

Story at-a-glance -

  • Analysis of research data from over 120,000 patients demonstrated a lack of fitness, as measured by a treadmill test, was predictive of premature death to a greater degree than smoking, heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Exercise is one of the best preventive strategies against many physical and mental disorders. Nonexercise movement is an independent risk factor for disease and early death and may be as important to your longevity
  • Many sit each day for up to 12 hours in 16 hours of waking time, increasing their risk of premature death and chronic disease independently of any exercise they may do during the day
  • Exercise and nonexercise movement are important to prevent disease and lengthen life; high-intensity interval training, the nitric oxide dump and using creative strategies to stay moving during the day help to improve your health and reduce your risk for disease

Exercise is one of the best preventative strategies you can use against many common ailments, from psychiatric disorders to heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Studies have also confirmed prolonged sitting is an independent risk factor for disease and early death.

This has a high cost on society, contributing to billions of dollars each year in health care costs and lost productivity. In one study, data from over 1 million individuals worldwide found a lack of physical activity had a global price tag of $67.5 billion in 2013. According to the researchers, lack of activity is also the cause of more than 5 million deaths per year.

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