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Physical activity, less sitting leads to better health outcomes for men, study says

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A new study found that exercise significantly extends the lives of older men who have had either cancer or cardiovascular disease. A like-minded study found that exercise reduces the risk of heart failure.

The first study was published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health yesterday. That study looked at over 1,000 men with an average age of 71. Those men who expended 12,600 calories per week in exercise were nearly half as likely to die of any cause as those who burned less than 2,100 per week.

Researchers looked at men who had entered Harvard as undergrads between the years 1916 and 1950. Of those individuals in the Harvard Alumni Health Study, 1,021 of the men had previously been diagnosed with cancer. In 1988, those individuals reported their physical activities. In 1993, those same individuals updated their data on their physical activity. A final update occurred in 2008.

The study results were adjusted for age, smoking, body mass index, early parental mortality and dietary variables.

Previous studies have concentrated on the benefits of exercise for healthy individuals. This study recognizes that due to earlier diagnosis and better treatment, more people are surviving cancer and so there is an interest in how to enhance survivors’ longevity. The most physically active study participants were 38 percent less likely to die of cancer and 49 percent less likely to die of a cardiovascular disease during the follow-up studies.

To see how your level of exercise stacks up, check out this calorie burn calculator.

The second study was published earlier this week in the American Heart Association Journal Circulation: Heart Failure. That study found that sitting for long periods increases heart failure risk in men (ages 45 to 69) even in men who exercise regularly.

Researchers recommend that individual increase their activity level and decrease their overall sedentary level. The study is the first to link heart failure with sedentary time. In this study of 84.170 men between the ages of 45 and 69, researchers calculated the level of metabolic equivalent of task (a measure of the body’s energy use). Sedentary levels were measured in hours. The study looked at an average of 8 years of follow up and found that men who spent five or more hours a day sitting were 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than men who spent no more than two hours a day sitting, regardless of how much they exercised. In addition, heart failure risk more than doubled in men who sat for at least five hours a day and exercised very little compared to men who were very physically active and sat for two hours or less per day.

For tips on ways to get exercise, go to this site.

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