Exercise the best medicine

We must become much more proactive in promoting physical activity for all.

We all know physical inactivity can lead to weight gain but what many of us don’t realise is that forgoing that thrice-weekly jog or walk makes us much more likely to die of a wide range of conditions, from heart disease and hypertension to diabetes and even some types of cancer.

In fact physical inactivity is the biggest public health problem of the 21st century, according to Professor Steven Blair, a visiting researcher from the US who will present a seminar at UniSA’s Sansom Institute.

Professor Blair, one of the most highly-cited exercise scientists in the world, is at the forefront of a movement that aims to reduce sedentary lifestyles, foster implementation of exercise counselling and disseminate exercise therapy around the world.

He says that while the health benefits of regular exercise are undeniable – his studies have shown that moderately fit individuals have a 36-39 per cent lower risk of dying than unfit people – doctors, health care providers and policy makers could be doing more to encourage more people to get active.

“In more than 50,000 women and men in the Aerobics Centre Longitudinal Study, low fitness is estimated to have caused about 16 per cent of deaths, which is higher than any other risk factor, including tobacco use,” says Professor Blair. 

“The good news is that the health risks can be eliminated with exercise; the challenge lies in engaging people who have been inactive for a long time – often since childhood – and in supporting doctors and other health care professionals to prescribe activity rather than medication alone.

“We must become much more proactive in promoting physical activity for all. Medical professionals, public health organisations, and other community groups can help get more people more active.”

The Sansom Institute is grateful to Active Ageing Australia for sponsoring Professor Blair’s visit.

Details:

Sansom Institute for Health Research visiting researcher seminar with Professor Steven Blair.
Physical inactivity: How do we address the biggest public health problem of the 21st century.
Monday 13 August, 2.00pm-4.00pm
C3-16 City East Campus, Frome Road, Adelaide

Media contact: Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email Kelly.stone@unisa.edu.au

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