Not exercising "worse than smoking" for your health

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Anna Brech
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Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in modern times – and yet not exercising is still *worse* for your health, according to the results of an extraordinary new study.

Researchers from Cleveland Clinic in the States examined data from over 100,000 patients who took a treadmill test to examine their fitness level, over a 22-year period.

The results, published this week, showed that people who performed worst on the workout test were at greater risk of dying than those with any other health conditions, including smokers and diabetics.

Exercise should be a prescription which could save your life, say researchers

“We’ve never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this,” cardiologist Dr. Wael Jaber tells CNN

“We all know that a sedentary lifestyle or being unfit has some risk. But I’m surprised they overwhelm even the risk factors as strong as smoking, diabetes or even end-stage disease.”

According to the research data, those with a sedentary lifestyle were 500% more likely to die than people in the top band of exercise performance; a risk that is around three times higher than that of smoking.

All of this is not to negate the dangers of smoking, of course.

Rather, it shows clearly how deadly a lack of exercise can be, too. As Dr. Jaber notes, “It should be treated almost as a disease that has a prescription, which is called exercise.”

And on that sobering note, we’re off to kick-start our workout regime… where are those jump ropes when you need them?

Images: Getty


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.