The benefits of exercise

Physical exercise is one of the most effective methods of preventing disease. The current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2009; 106[40]: 713󈞇) is devoted to this important topic.

The first article (see http://www.aerzteblatt.de/v4/archiv/pdf.asp?id=66574), by Carl D. Reimers and coauthors, deals with the remarkable potential of physical exercise to prevent stroke. In men, exercise lowers the risk of cerebral hemorrhage by 40%, and that of cerebral infarction by 27%. Rapid walking or cycling suffices to achieve this effect. In women, a statistically significant effect has not been demonstrated.

In the second article (see http://www.aerzteblatt.de/v4/archiv/pdf.asp?id=66575), sports physician Martin Halle and his collaborators present the finding that regular walking lowers the risk of colorectal carcinoma, the most common type of cancer in Germany, by 40%. Patients with colorectal carcinoma can also improve their prognosis by exercising.

Professor Leyk of the German Sport University in Cologne opens this special issue with an editorial (see http://www.aerzteblatt.de/v4/archiv/pdf.asp?id=66573), in which he asks the critical question why the tremendous preventive and therapeutic benefits of exercise are still underutilized in clinical medicine.



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