An increasing body of evidence suggests that physical activity and physical fitness contribute to good health. Studies have demonstrated that physical activity, be it occupational or recreational, is associated with decreased risks of coronary heart disease.1 Other studies suggest that risks for colon cancer,2 stroke,3 and hypertension4 are reduced and that exercise can assist in management of persons with diabetes,4 depression,5 and obesity.6 Blair et al7 provide evidence in this issue of JAMA that physical fitness is associated with lower rates of all causes of mortality as well as cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality. Physical fitness is determined by our genetics and our behavior. While we cannot change our genes, we can modify our behavior. Increased physical activity leads to improved physical fitness and to other physiological changes. It is the combination of these changes that leads to improved health. Not only is
Koplan JP, Caspersen CJ, Powell KE. Physical Activity, Physical Fitness, and Health: Time to Act. JAMA. 1989;262(17):2437. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430170099036
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