How to exercise to reduce cardiovascular and cancer risk

We are increasingly aware of the importance of exercise to maintain good health, because in addition to helping to control weight, it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, enhances muscle mass and strengthens bones and reduces the chances of suffering from diseases, such as diabetes, and even mental problems. However, knowing what is the ideal combination of exercise to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) or cancer can help prevent early mortality.

The World Health Organization (WHO) offers general recommendations on physical activity depending on the age of the individual and, in general, advises that a minimum of between 150 and 300 minutes a week be exercised in the case of physical activity. moderate aerobic, or between 75 and 150 minutes if the exercise is vigorous. Now, a new study led by Rubén López-Bueno, a researcher at the University of Zaragoza, has found the combination of exercise that reduces mortality from all causes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer in adults.

Best option: combine aerobic exercise and muscle toning

In the research, they analyzed data from 500,705 people with a mean age of 46.4 years who were followed for 10 years. The results have been published in JAMA Internal Medicine and reveal that “the optimal combinations for reducing the risk of cancer and CVD mortality were more than 150 to 225 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (MPA), more than 0 to 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity (VPA) and two or plus muscle strengthening sessions (MSA) per week, and more than 300 minutes of MPA, more than 0 to 75 minutes of VPA, and two or more MSA sessions per week, respectively.”

“Levels of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity above those recommended may further reduce the risk of cancer and all-cause mortality, respectively”

Adjusted mortality rates represented approximately 50% lower mortality for all-cause and cancer mortality and approximately three times lower mortality for cardiovascular disease mortality. All this in comparison with the group of people who did not do moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise and did less than the recommended muscle-strengthening activity. According to the study’s conclusions, “MPA and VPA levels higher than those recommended may further reduce the risk of cancer and all-cause mortality, respectively.”

How study participants were selected

To carry out the study, data from 22 consecutive rounds of the National Health Survey of the United States (NHIS; 1997-2018), a nationally representative survey of the non-institutionalized population in this country that is carried out. each year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, and which also provides ethical approval of surveys and procedures for informed consent.

Briefly, personal surveys were conducted in households selected from random groups through a complex, multistage, stratified sampling procedure. From a sample of 646,201 participants, those who suffered from chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, emphysema or stroke were excluded, as well as those who lacked data, or could not perform intense or moderate aerobic activity.

Individuals with missing data on covariates, including chronic conditions, functional limitations, marital status, education, alcohol use, smoking, and body mass index, were also disregarded. To avoid reverse causality bias, mortality results during the first two years of follow-up were excluded. Thus, the present study recovered data from a final cohort of 500,705 adults older than 18 years.

Previous studies in US adults had found that, for the same amount of moderate and vigorous physical activity, a higher proportion of vigorous activity was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, but not with CVD or CVD mortality. cancer.

The results of these studies also indicate that there are unique associations between different combinations of exercise with all-cause mortality. However, its implication in the decrease in mortality from CVD or cancer has been much less explored.


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