Our Evidence: The Science

Physical Activity as a Medicine

It is as much of a risk factor as hypertension and smoking for preventable chronic diseases (Myers et al., 2002; Lee and Paffenbarger, 1998; Lee, Hseih and Paffenbarger, 1995), but physical activity has never been given the same respect as medication to prevent and treat disease.

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Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality (Murray et al., 2013) and is linked to the development of numerous chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, dementia, obesity, depression, and certain cancers (Brown et al., 2012; Royal College of Physicians, 2012; Department of Health, 2011; Samitz et al., 2011; Woodcock et al., 2011; Löllgen, Bickenhoff and Knapp, 2009; World Health Organisation, 2009; Nocon et al., 2008; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], 2008; American College of Sports Medicine [ACSM], 2005; Bassuk and Manson, 2005; Brooks et al., 2004; Chakravarthy and Booth, 2004).

In fact, being physically active is the single most important thing you can do for your health.

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