Living a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for many chronic diseases and increases an individual’s chance of premature mortality (8–10).
The link between increased physical activity and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is well established (5,6). Regular moderate to intense physical activity is associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease, ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke (11,12). The benefits of regular physical activity also extend to secondary prevention in patients with established CVD (6).
In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that increasing physical activity can also reduce risk of certain types of cancers, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity and hypertension (5,9,13).
Rhodes et al. (14) note that regular physical exercise is presently considered to be beneficial in the primary and secondary prevention of about 25 conditions.
Regular exercise and physical activity can also reduce or slow the deterioration associated with age related changes in many of the body’s systems (15).
Evidence of the beneficial effects of physical activity in the primary prevention and management of cancer is growing (6,16). Cancer mortality has been found to be inversely related to physical activity levels (17,18). In addition to decreased mortality Orsini et al. (19) found that walking or cycling for at least an hour a day was associated with a 16% reduction in overall cancer incidence. For specific cancer sites the evidence is mixed. For colon cancer in both sexes, there is a strong relationship between increased physical activity and decreased incidence (20,21).
Other cancers in men have yet to demonstrate such a clear relationship. Prostate cancer incidence seems to be less for those who are active at work, defined as not sitting for most of the day (22,23). The link with leisure time physical activity is less clear. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition did not find a link between prostate cancer and leisure time physical activity (23). Orsini et al. (22), however, did find that walking or cycling for more than 30 mins a day was associated with decreased incidence. Also of note is that post diagnosis, physical activity can aid recovery and improve outcomes (16).
As men age, the risk of erectile dysfunction increases. There are many potential factors that can contribute to the problem. Amongst these a number of modifiable lifestyle variables have been identified. Physical inactivity and obesity are associated with increased risk of erectile dysfunction (24). Conversely being physically active is associated with decreased risk.
The above is an extract from a paper by Leslie Alford from the University of East Anglia on the impact of regular exercise on our physical and mental health. You can obtained the references by clicking on FULL TEXT.
L. Alford. What men should know about the impact of physical activity on their health. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2010; 64 (13): 1731