September 06, 2005


 Competency # 4   ACTIVITY Reference:  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Jun;14(6):1496-501

 Exercise:  I’m determined to have exercise be part of my day.   Here are the reasons you should too! 

 1.  Exercise, 30 minutes a day has a remarkable effect on your life expectancy.  The graph of benefit takes off when you hit 20 miles of walking a week.  You get some benefit with ANY exercise, but there is an elbow in the curve at 3 miles a day where after your benefit just takes off.  One hour of brisk walking a day gets you to 20 miles a week. 

 2.  We all know that smoking is really awful for your life expectancy.   The research risks also show that  "a day without exercise is as bad as a day with smoking."  That has been quantified in the literature. 

 3.  Part of the Mediterranean "Diet" is lifestyle:  They walk.  Ditto for the Okinawa Miracle.  The Centenarians on Okinawa will tell you, "They walk everywhere".  If you want to live to be a healthy 100, you start exercising regularly when you are young. 

 4.Cancer Risk: is also improved.  Within the last 6 months there have been several articles in the peer literature showing that people with exercise live longer.  The specific risk with breast cancer was recently reviewed in study of 1500 women with breast cancer from China.  It showed an almost doubling of survival for women with breast cancer who exercised regularly and were slender. 

 5.  Finally, you can lower your blood lipids and reduce the "inflammatory markers" in your system, by daily exercise.  Within one day, you see benefit. And, from the American Council of Exercise, here are the top 

6 Myths about Exercise that 1500 surveyed Health Care Professionals believe. 

           1.  Women who lift weights will get bulky muscles 

           2.  Spot reducing of weight is possible (my thighs) 

            3.  No pain, no gain.  (lots of exercise can be fun) 

            4.  Exercise requires a healthy time commitment.   (Wrong.  It often takes longer to take the elevator at work) 

            5.  If you exercise, you can eat whatever you want.   (We are always capable of eating more than we need) 

            6.  There is a magic bullet out there somewhere. (Well, except for love, there’s exercise) With gas prices so high, bike to work. WWW:  We know that there is no threshold below which exercise isn’t helpful.  In fact, there is evidence that standing while working consumes more calories than sitting.  I’m trying to stand more when I talk on the phone.  I’m trying to park farther instead of closer.  And the dog just adores me when I walk her around the block.  Any exercise I can add…. Every single day.  Help me, I need encouragement.

This column was written by Dr. John E Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI. (262-785-5300)