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A recent study from the University of South Australia reveals that maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) significantly reduces the risk of premature death, chronic illnesses, and health complications by 20%.

Cardiorespiratory fitness, assessed through factors like VO2 max, gauges the efficiency of your heart, lungs, and muscles in supplying oxygen during physical exertion. Enhanced fitness levels enable better oxygen transportation and utilization.

Higher fitness lowers risk of premature death

The study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, analysed data from 199 studies with over 20 million participants. They investigated how cardiorespiratory fitness levels correlate with future health outcomes.

The findings revealed that individuals with higher fitness levels had significantly lower risks of premature death from any cause compared to those with lower fitness levels. Additionally, each increase in fitness level by 1 MET corresponded to a decrease in mortality risk ranging from seven to 51 percent, depending on the cause of death. These protective effects extended to deaths related to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and sudden cardiac events.

According to Grant Tomkinson, a professor at the University of South Australia, regular physical activity lowers the risk of premature death and future diseases.

Increased fitness levels were associated with a notable decrease in the risk of chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, dementia, and depression by 37 to 69 percent. Even individuals with pre-existing heart disease, cancer, or other chronic illnesses experienced a significantly lower risk of mortality if they were more physically fit.

Physical activity impacts cardiorespiratory fitness

This study underscores the importance of physical activity for health, highlighting that even modest improvements in fitness can yield substantial benefits, particularly for individuals starting from a low fitness level.

Cardiorespiratory fitness is affected by various factors including physical activity, genetics, age, and health. Regular aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing can improve cardiorespiratory health for most individuals.

Dr. Justin Lang, lead author of a study, suggests that engaging in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, like brisk walking, can lead to significant health benefits, reducing the risk of death and disease.