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Entries in Health Benefits of Exercise Quarterly Report (22)


High Levels of Physical Activity Can Moderate Risks Linked to Sitting

The links between sedentary behavior and chronic disease risk are well known, however it is unclear whether physical activity can help moderate or even eliminate these risks. A review published in British medical journal Lancet examined the relationship between sedentary time, physical activity, and premature death from any cause. Researchers included 16 studies on over one million participants in the review.

The results showed that daily sitting time was not associated with death from any cause among the most active groups. Compared with those who sat less than four hours per day and were in the most active groups, people who sat over eight hours a day but got at least 35.5 MET hours of exercise each week saw no increased risk. In addition, watching television more than three hours per day was associated with higher risk of premature death regardless of activity levels, except in the most active group.

Many people sit for long periods due to their jobs and commutes. Health clubs provide a safe, effective place for people to get active and mitigate their health risks.

Ekelund U1, Steene-Johannessen J2, Brown WJ3, Fagerland MW4, Owen N5, Powell KE6, Bauman A7, Lee IM8; Lancet Physical Activity Series 2 Executive Committe; Lancet Sedentary Behaviour Working Group. Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women. Lancet. 2016 Sep 24;388(10051):1302-10. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30370-1. Epub 2016 Jul 28.

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Exercise Started in Early Pregnancy Linked to Lower Incidence of Gestational Diabetes 

Overweight or obesity prior to pregnancy is a risk factor for gestational diabetes, which can lead to negative outcomes for both mother and child. A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology examined the efficacy of exercise during early pregnancy in preventing gestational diabetes among overweight and obese pregnant Chinese women. The study followed 300 women starting at their 10th week of pregnancy, randomly grouping them into exercise or control groups.

The results showed that the women in the exercise group had a lower incidence of gestational diabetes (22% compared to 40%). The women in the exercise group also had less gestational weight gain and lower insulin resistance than their non-exercising counterparts. The authors concluded that “Cycling exercise initiated early in pregnancy and performed no less than 30 minutes, three times per week, is associated with a significant reduction in the frequency of GDM in overweight/obese pregnant women.”

Health clubs provide a safe, supportive place for pregnant women and new mothers to be active.

Wang C1, Wei Y1, Zhang X1, Zhang Y1, Xu Q1, Sun Y1, Su S1, Zhang L1, Liu C1, Feng Y1, Shou C2, Guelfi KJ3, Newnham JP4, Yang H5. A randomized clinical trial of exercise during pregnancy to prevent gestational diabetes mellitus and improve pregnancy outcome in overweight and obese pregnant women. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Feb 1. pii: S0002-9378(17)30172-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.01.037. [Epub ahead of print]

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Health Club Membership Linked to Higher Activity Levels, Better Cardiovascular Outcomes

The relationship between physical activity and heart health is widely accepted. A study published in the journal PLoS One assessed the possible relationship between health club membership and meeting U.S. physical activity recommendations and cardiovascular health metrics including waist circumference, BMI, blood pressure, and heart rate. The researchers analyzed data on 204 health club members and compared it to data from 201 non-members. 

The results indicated that the odds of meeting both resistance and aerobic physical activity guidelines recommendations was 13.8 times higher among health club members compared to non-members. The odds of meeting aerobic or resistance recommendations were 16.5 and 10.1 times higher among gym members, respectively. Health club membership had positive impacts on several of the cardiovascular markers studied, including resting heart rate, sedentary time, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Health clubs provide a safe, supportive place to be active, and membership may increase the likelihood of getting sufficient physical activity to benefit health.

Schroeder EC, Welk GJ, Franke WD, Lee D-c (2017) Associations of Health Club Membership with Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health. PLoS ONE12(1): e0170471.  doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0170471.

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Cardiorespiratory Fitness Linked to Lower Incidence of Non-Fatal Heart Attack in Men

A study published in the American Heart Journal examined the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and risk of a first major non-fatal heart attack, stroke, or heart failure event. The study used data on over 2,000 men aged 42-61 years and followed them for an average of 19 years.

The data showed that for every one metabolic equivalent (MET) increase in aerobic fitness, the risk of non-fatal heart attack, non-fatal stroke, and non-fatal heart failure event declined 7, 6, 16% respectively. The authors of the study concluded that, in their population of Finnish men, “there is a strong, inverse, and independent association between CRF and acute nonfatal MI and HF risk.” Health clubs provide a safe, effective place for men to increase their cardiorespiratory fitness levels, with plenty of options for independent and group exercise. 

Khan H, Jaffar N, Rauramaa R, Kurl S, Savonen K, Laukkanen JA. Cardiorespiratory fitness and nonfatalcardiovascular events: A population-based follow-up study. Am Heart J. 2016 Nov 2;184:55-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2016.10.019. [Epub ahead of print].

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Combined Diet and Exercise Program Showed Best Results for Weight Loss in Older Adults

A review published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society examined research to identify effective behavioral obesity interventions for older adults. The review included 19 studies involving 405 participants and focused on non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical interventions. Five studies included resistance training and nutritional intervention.

The results found average weight loss to be between 0.5 and 10.7 kilograms (1.1 – 23.5 pounds), or between 0.1 AND 9.3% of a participant’s original body weight. Studies that combined diet and exercise produced the best results, with participants experiencing improvements in physical performance and quality of life and negating muscle and bone mass losses experienced by diet only program participants. Health clubs provide a safe, effective place for older adults to be active, and many offer weight loss programs that combine exercise and nutrition education.

Batsis JA, Gill LE, Masutani RK, Adachi-Mejia A, Blunt HB, Bagley PJ, Lopez-Jimenez F, Bartels SJ. Weight Loss Interventions in Older Adults with Obesity: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials Since 2005. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Sep 19. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14514. [Epub ahead of print]

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Dance Fitness Is an Effective, Health-Enhancing Activity for Adults  

A study published online in the Journal of Sports Science evaluated the effects of Zumba® Fitness on markers of cardiovascular health, inflammation, and health-related quality of life among overweight, inactive women living in the community. Twenty women were randomly assigned to one or two hours of weekly Zumba® Fitness classes or maintenance of usual physical activity. 

Results showed that women in the Zumba® group saw improved fitness capacity, decreased body fat percentage, and lower levels of inflammatory markers. There were also improvements noted in health-related quality of life, including in physical functioning, fatigue, and emotional well-being. The authors concluded that Zumba® Fitness was an effective, health-enhancing activity for adults. In addition to a safe, supportive place to be active, many health clubs offer Zumba® or other cardio dance classes.

Domene PA1, Moir HJ1, Pummell E1, Knox A2, Easton C2. The health-enhancing efficacy of Zumba® fitness: An 8-week randomised controlled study. J Sports Sci. 2016 Aug;34(15):1396-1404. Epub 2015 Nov 16.

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Aerobic Exercise in Varying Frequencies Benefits Health of Overweight Women

Research consistently demonstrates that exercise is beneficial for people with overweight and obesity. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health assessed the impact of varying frequency and duration of aerobic physical activity on overweight women. Thirty-four participants were randomized to either a long bout (twice weekly, 75 minute sessions) or short bout (30 minute sessions five times per week) group of similar intensity exercise for eight weeks.

 Results showed that weekly energy expenditure was similar for both groups. In addition, exercise training resulted in improved fitness, decreased waist circumference, decreased insulin resistance, and reduced diastolic blood pressure, with no major difference in benefit between the two groups. The authors concluded that exercise training programs with comparable energy expenditure are comparably beneficial independent of frequency and duration of the individual sessions.

Manthou E1, Gill JM, Malkova D. Effect of exercise programs with aerobic exercise sessions of similar intensity but different frequency and duration on health-related measures in overweight women. J Phys Act Health. 2015 Jan;12(1):80-6. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2013-0047. Epub 2014 May 15.

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Poor Physical Fitness Linked to Cardio-metabolic Risk Factors in Children

A study in the International Journal of Obesity looked at the relationship between physical fitness and cardio-metabolic risk factors in a group of European children. The study included 1,635 kids ages 6-11 and results were measured over the course of two years. Fitness was assessed with cardiorespiratory fitness, lower and upper limb strength, balance, flexibility, and speed.

The results showed that low levels of physical fitness were associated with a higher risk of having multiple metabolic risk factors. Overall, cardio-respiratory fitness and lower limb strength were most predictive of cardio-metabolic risk factors, namely waist circumference, blood lipid levels, and insulin resistance. Fitness was not found to be predictive of high blood pressure. Health clubs provide a safe, supportive place for kids to be physically active and maintain fitness levels. 

Zaqout M, Michels N, Bammann K, Ahrens W, Sprengeler O, Molnar D, Hadjigeorgiou C, Eiben G, Konstabel K, Russo P, Jimenez D, Moreno LA, De Henauw S. Influence of physical fitness on cardio-metabolic risk factors in European children. IDEFICS study. Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Feb 9. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2016.22. [Epub ahead of print]

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Higher Physical Activity Levels Linked to Lower Risk of Premature Death from Breast Cancer

Previous evidence has found physical activity to be beneficial for breast cancer survivors. A study in the journal BMC Cancer assessed the impact of pre- and post-diagnostic physical activity, as well as changes in physical activity, on risk of premature death from breast cancer or any other cause. The study used data on patient outcome and self-reported physical activity from over 1,300 women who participated in the Norwegian Women and Cancer Study.

The authors found a statistically significant link between physical activity levels and decreased risk of premature death from breast cancer or any other cause. These results were stronger in older women but remained consistent across all BMI categories. The evidence also indicated a dose response relationship, meaning that as physical activity levels increased, risk of premature death decreased.   

Health clubs provide a safe, supportive environment for cancer survivors to be active, and some clubs offer programs specifically for cancer survivors.

Borch KB, Braaten T, Lund E, Weiderpass E. Physical activity before and after breast cancer diagnosis and survival - the Norwegian women and cancer cohort study. BMC Cancer. 2015 Dec 16;15(1):967. doi: 10.1186/s12885-015-1971-9.

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Forget Pills—Exercise Is the Best Treatment for Lower-Back Pain

The health club industry has long-known that exercise can treat many ailments, and new research has added yet another condition to the growing list: lower-back pain.

Exercise reduced the risk of repeated lower-back pain in the year following an episode between 25-40%, according to a review published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. The type of exercise did not appear to matter—core strengthening, aerobic exercise, flexibility, and stretching all proved beneficial.

"If there were a pill out there that could reduce your risk of future episodes of back pain by 30 percent, I'd probably be seeing ads on television every night," Dr. Tim Carey, an internist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who wrote an accompanying commentary in the journal, told NPR.

The research, conducted by a health researcher at University of Sydney in Australia, analyzed 21 global back pain studies, with data from 30,000 total participants.  

"Why are we not prescribing an inexpensive, effective treatment? Some of it is, I think, we don't think of exercise as being a treatment the way a tablet or a procedure or a physical therapy treatment might," Carey told NPR. "We're a fairly pill-oriented society. Pills are easy to take, and as a doctor, pills are easy to prescribe.”

For more on how the fitness industry can help reduce back pain, view IHRSA’s Health Benefits of Exercise Report archive.