Healthy Lifestyle – The Essential Components

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Exercise and Disease Prevention/Avoidance

The two main factors that will determine whether a person will die prematurely of a preventable disease, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes or obesity-related diseases, are:

1. Diet
2. Exercise

The scientific research is irrefutable in these two areas of lifestyle habits and disease prevention/avoidance.  Eating perfectly doesn’t replace the need for exercise and vice versa – exercising will not offset bad dietary choices.  You know those obsessive athletes who think that they can get away with eating donuts because they work out all the time?  They’re wrong!

What Does The Science Say?  Here’s a fascinating illustration.  In general, most people associate cancer with bad genes, or random chance, or simply bad luck; it’s rare that people will associate a cancer death with lifestyle choices.  However, when it comes to skin cancer, there’s an overwhelming association with sun exposure as the cause.  However, when we look at all cancer as a health issue, a different picture emerges.

Exercising reduces the risk of skin cancer?

“Thus the majority of deaths from chronic health conditions in the United States are of environmental origin. Physical inactivity is the third leading cause of death in the United States and contributes to the second leading cause (obesity), accounting for at least 1 in 10 deaths.

“There is now unequivocal evidence in the literature supporting the notion that all environmental factors combined, including physical inactivity (defined here as the activity equivalent of <30 min of brisk walking/day), account for the majority of chronic health conditions. Sedentary men and women had a 56% and 72%, respectively, higher incidence of melanomas that those exercising 5-7 days/wk.”

Booth FW, et al. Waging war on physical inactivity: using modern molecular ammunition against an ancient enemy. J Appl Physiol 2002; 93: 3-30. view article

Interesting to note that the study was regarding skin cancer – that means that exercising less than 4 days/week did not prevent the melanoma cancer – THAT’S PROFOUND!

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