When we look at the health benefits, physical activity would be a kind of “universal medicine” because of its multiple positive effects on health. Being physically active causes a series of biochemical and physiological changes that increase heart and lung function, improve blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar, and decrease the risk of depression, to name a few.
4 more years of life expectancy, in better conditions
Regular physical activity is associated with a marked decrease in the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and decline in cognitive functions, which translates into a marked increase in life expectancy and quality of life. life. The most active people can live on average more than four additional years, compared to those who are sedentary. If a pill could provide all the benefits of physical activity, it would be the biggest commercial success in the history of the pharmaceutical industry.
Sport, the best prevention against 13 different cancers
Several studies have shown that people who are more physically active see their risk of being affected by several cancers be considerably reduced, compared to those who have a sedentary lifestyle. This protective effect is particularly well documented for colon and breast cancers. A major breakthrough in this direction has just been achieved by a team of American researchers thanks to the systematic analysis of the risk of 26 distinct types of cancer diagnosed in a population of 1.4 million people (1). By comparing the incidence of these cancers between people who were most active during their leisure time and those who were sedentary, the scientists observed significant risk reductions for 13 different cancers:
– esophagus: -42%
– liver: -27%
– lung: -26% (in smokers and ex-smokers only)
– kidney: -23%
– stomach: -22%
– uterus: -21%
– myeloid leukemia: -20%
– myeloma: -17%
– colon: -16%
– head and neck:-15%
– rectum: -13%
– bladder: -13%
– breast: -10%
Find your activity and your rhythm
According to the data collected by the study authors, the physical activity of the most active people was about 22 metabolic equivalents (METs) per week, which corresponds to about 7 hours of brisk walking or 2.5 hours of jog at a moderate pace for a week. It is therefore a fairly high level of activity, but quite accessible to the vast majority of the population.
Physical activity, much more than a “fat burner”
We have every interest in changing the way we view physical activity. Too often, exercising is too simply seen as a way to “burn” calories to keep the line or eliminate a few extra pounds. This vision is much too simplistic and we should instead consider physical activity as an essential ingredient in the prevention of chronic diseases, including a large number of cancers, and in increasing our quality of life. With the bonus, the euphoria generated by the production of endorphins and endocannabinoids, these endogenous euphoriants that accompany physical effort!
1) Moore SC et al. Association of leisure-time physical activity with risk of 26 types of cancer in 1.44 million adults. JAMA Intern Med