Unfit Body – Major Risk Factor for Premature Death

An Unfit Body is Second only to Smoking as a Major Risk Factor for Premature Death

Poor physical fitness is bad for the health and the longevity of an individual contrary to what people expect. Being unfit is next to smoking when it comes to considering the risk factors associated with premature death.

An all new and long-term study of middle-aged men,  suggests this fact. There can be absolutely no doubt in the fact that aerobic capacity has an influence on lifespan. Epidemiological studies conducted in the past suggest that people with poor physical fitness are likely to die early. On the contrary, people with vigorous aerobic capacity have long lives.

But most studies followed individuals for around 10 to 20 years. This is a long time period for science and is nowhere around actual life spans. There are studies that also followed infirm and elderly people. This makes it hard to extrapolate the discoveries to healthier and younger individuals.

In a completely new study published in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, there was a new theory implemented. Researchers from the University of Gothenburg and various other organizations took on an impressive, long-term and large database. This database carried information about the Swedish men.

This data set was called Study of Men in 1913. In 1963, around 1000, 50-year-old healthy men from Gothenburg with birth dates in 1913 agreed to be studied. They did this for helping scientists understand the lifetime risks of different diseases and most importantly heart diseases.

The Study

The men participating in the research completed basic health tests. These health tests included blood pressure measures and cholesterol and weight. It also tested whether the men smoked and exercised.

Past four years, when participants were 54, they underwent extensive testing. This included exercise stress specifically designed for determining their aerobic capacity. The scientists used the results for developing a mathematical formula. This formula allowed the scientists to guess the aerobic ability of the remaining participants.

Scientists find it very interesting to study, aerobic capacity. This is because aerobic capacity is affected by lifestyle and genetics. A part of aerobic capacity is innate. People inherit it from their parents. However, much of the endurance capacity of people is influenced by their lifestyle. Exercise raises VO2. Being inactive lowers endurance capacity and even being overweight does the same.

Among the participants comprising middle-aged men, endurance capacities varied from trivial to high. It reflected the self-reflected exercise regimes of the men. Men who seldom exercised had a lower VO2 max.

Further, the scientists teamed up the men into three different categories. They did this for determining the influence of fitness of life span. The three categories of men were those with high, medium and low aerobic capacity aged 54.

The Results

The men were then followed for 50 years. During this time, surviving participants completed health tests once every ten years. Scientists also tracked the deaths among men depending on the national registry.

The scientists then compared the chance of early death to different health parameters. This specifically included the men’s blood pressure, VO2 max, history of smoking and cholesterol profile. Not astonishingly, smoking has a major influence on lifespan. Smoking shortens lives substantially.

However, aerobic capacity also had a major influence on lifespan next only to smoking. Men with low VO2 in the group had a 21% chances of dying a premature death. This was relatively higher that the men with the middling endurance capacity. Men with low VO2 also had a 42% chance of early death in comparison to men who were fit.

Being unfit was something that turned out to be unhealthier than poor cholesterol or high blood pressure profiles. The researchers found this. Fit men with unhealthy levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure could live longer than the unfit men.

This study came up with links between shortened lifespans and poor fitness. It does not prove that one was the result of the other. It also does not explain how aerobic capacity might impact lifespan.

Nevertheless, the findings increase the probability that a strengthened body might live longer. Scientists speculate that better fitness can lower the chances of different dangerous diseases in people. It is also worth noting that the study involved Swedish men. Therefore, whether the reports apply to the other people is uncertain.


Therefore, it can be concluded that individuals who want to live longer need to be clear about longevity and fitness. Increasing endurance capacity means getting up and doing some activities.

Physical activity, even in small amounts might have positive effects on the fitness of an individual. Physical fitness is important for living a long life. Practicing proper exercises at the right time can improve body fitness.

This makes way for a long and healthy life. Increase your endurance or aerobic capacity and you will surely gain longevity. A long life is the result of great physical fitness!

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