As millions of Ugandans flock to the gym armed with New Year’s resolutions to get in shape, medical experts are offering an additional reason to exercise: Regular workouts may help fight off colds and flu, reduce the risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases and slow the process of aging. Medical experts say inactivity poses as great a health risk as smoking, contributing to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, depression, arthritis and osteoporosis.
Even lean men and women who are inactive are at higher risk of death and disease. So while reducing obesity is an important goal, “the better message would be to get everyone to walk 30 minutes a day” says Robert Sallis, co-director of sports medicine at Fontana Medical Center, a Southern California facility owned by managed-care giant Kaiser Permanente. “We need to refocus the national message on physical activity, which can have a bigger impact on health than losing weight.”
Regular exercise has been shown to combat the ongoing damage done to cells, tissues and organs that underlies many chronic conditions. Read On