Boost Your Cardio Fitness, Reduce Your Risk of Early Death and Chronic Diseases, Study Finds

A study from the University of South Australia has revealed that increasing your cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) by just one metabolic equivalent (MET) can reduce your risk of premature death from any cause by 11-17% and your risk of heart disease by 18%. The study, which is the first to collate all the scientific evidence on the link between CRF and health outcomes, emphasizes the importance of regular aerobic exercise for a long and healthy life.

The Power of Cardiorespiratory Fitness

Cardiorespiratory fitness refers to your ability to perform physical activities like running, cycling, and swimming for an extended period. According to the study’s senior author, Professor Grant Tomkinson, CRF is probably the most important type of fitness for good health.

“We summarised the evidence linking CRF to numerous health outcomes and found that those with low levels of CRF are far more likely to die early or develop chronic conditions like heart disease later in life,” Prof Tomkinson says.

The study found that every 1-MET increase in CRF, which is the amount of energy used when sitting quietly, reduced the risk of early death from any cause and heart failure by 11–17% and 18%, respectively. For most people, a 1-MET increase in CRF can be achieved through a regular aerobic exercise program.

The Importance of Regular Exercise

Chronic health conditions are a major cause of poor health, disability, and premature death. In Australia alone, an estimated 11.6 million people (47%) have a chronic and debilitating health condition, contributing to two-thirds of the burden of disease.

Lead author from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Adjunct Professor at UniSA, Dr Justin Lang, emphasizes the importance of cardiorespiratory fitness as a marker of health status. “People can make meaningful improvements through additional moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, at least 150 minutes a week. And as they improve their fitness, their risk of death and disease will decline,” Dr Lang says.

The study also highlights the need for regular assessment of CRF in clinical and public health practice to support people in improving their health outcomes. “Through regular assessment, clinicians and exercise professionals could better identify adults at greater risk of early death and initiate exercise programs aimed at increasing CRF through regular physical activity,” Dr Lang adds.

The message is clear: engaging in regular aerobic exercise and improving your cardiorespiratory fitness can significantly reduce your risk of premature death and chronic diseases. So, whether you prefer running, cycling, or swimming, make sure to incorporate “huff and puff” exercises into your routine for a healthier, longer life.

Keyword/phrase: cardiorespiratory fitness and health

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