A research conducted to evaluate the role of physical activity in the development of chronic diseases confirms the undeniable evidence of the effectiveness of regular physical activity in the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic diseases. These include cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and depression.
The linear relation between physical activity and health status appears in such a way that a further increase in physical activity and fitness will lead to additional improvements in health status. The research concludes that physical inactivity is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and several other chronic diseases including diabetes melitus, bone and joint diseases ( osteoarthritis and osteoporosis), hypertension and depression. The prevalence of physical inactivity is found to be higher than that of all other modifiable risk factors.
Routine physical activity is also found to be associated with improved psychological well-being through factors like reduced stress, anxiety, depression.etc. This is particularly important because psychological well-being has a key role in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases.
The study involved groups of healthy middle-aged men and women who were followed up for several years in which the lowest quantities of physical fitness, as measured on an exercise treadmill, were associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases, compared with the top quintile for fitness.
Moreover, it appears that people who are fit, yet have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, may be at lower risk than people who are sedentary with no risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
One prospective cohort study showed that walking at least 2 hours per week was associated with a reduction in the incidence of developing risk factors. Moreover, walking, which leads to moderate increases in heart and breathing rates, was associated with significant reductions in risk factors.
A particularly important adaptation to routine physical activity is the changes in endothelial function. Endothelial dysfunction has been observed with aging, smoking and multiple chronic disease states, including coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and obesity. It has been found that regular aerobic activity improves vascular function and results in a shear-stress–mediated improvement in endothelial function. Read the Full Research