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cardiorespiratory fitness in youth can lead to longer life

Good cardiorespiratory fitness in youth can help lead to a longer lifespan. According to a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it is associated with up to a 40% lower risk of contracting nine different types of cancer in adult men. These include cancers of the head and neck, food pipe (esophagus), stomach, pancreas, liver, bowel, kidney, and lung.

Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is the ability of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels to deliver oxygen to the body’s tissues during physical activity. It is a measure of how well your body can use oxygen to fuel your muscles.

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CRF is important for overall health and well-being. It can help reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. It can also help improve your mental health, mood, and sleep quality.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. They also recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups on two or more days a week.

As they say, it is never too late to get physically fit. But it has also been known for some time that it is important for kids to maintain physical fitness not just for their overall health, but for the sake of their future selves. A person’s body continues to develop into their 20s. So, being healthy and getting plenty of exercise in the early years helps to develop a better overall immune system and to keep the body healthy until later in life.

Higher quality of medical treatment and better diets among the youth of the western world has been cited as one of the reasons why people are living longer than ever.

The researchers drew on linked Swedish registry data up to the end of 2019, covering background information, medical diagnoses, and deaths for conscripts who started their military service between 1968 and 2005. The conscripts were between the ages of 16 and 25.

The researchers found that conscripts with a low level of cardiorespiratory fitness were slightly more likely to be obese, more likely to have a history of alcohol and substance misuse, and to have parents with lower educational attainment than conscripts with a higher fitness level.

In all, 365,874 conscripts had a low level of cardiorespiratory fitness; 519,652 had a moderate level; and 340,952 had a high level.

The final analysis included more than 1 million men (1,078,000), 84,117 (7%) of whom subsequently developed cancer in at least one site during an average monitoring period of 33 years.

“This study shows that higher fitness in healthy young men is associated with a lower hazard of developing 9 out of 18 investigated site-specific cancers, with the most clinically relevant hazard rates in the gastrointestinal tract,” said the study’s authors.

“These results could be used in public health policymaking, further strengthening the incentive for promoting interventions aimed at increasing [cardiorespiratory fitness] in youth,” they added.



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