The universal admiration for athletic excellence, exemplified in the Olympics, caps an attitude about the value of physical exercise that is almost as pervasive. Unfortunately the evidence that physical exercise does more than make us feel better has been hard to come by. And for some, such as the anonymous author of the quote "Joggers don't live longer, it just seems like it," the benefits of physical exercise are not only unproved but unobtainable by most ordinary people.
The article by Blair et al1 in this issue of The Journal provides some very suggestive evidence that physical fitness provides protection against the development of hypertension during the next one to 12 years. Those with low levels of physical fitness at the initial examination had a 1.52 greater relative risk for the development of hypertension than did those with higher levels of physical fitness, after appropriate adjustment for age, sex,
Kaplan NM. Joggers May Live Longer.... JAMA. 1984;252(4):528. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350040058025
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