Can exercise increase your lifespan?

Exercise and Recovery

Everyone knows that exercise is important – we’ve read numerous articles on the many benefits on exercise, yet it might still be difficult to drag ourselves out for a run/to the gym/to the field. But does exercising actually give you a long life? Well, studies have shown that physical activity is not only linked to benefits such as an improvement of our physical and mental health, but also aids in the reduction of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

First of all, what are NCDs? NCDs are diseases that are not infectious, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes – infamous issues to our ears.

 

Smokers standing outside a building

(Image: Google)

 

Who are more susceptible to NCDs?

Risk factors such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and alcohol abuse all increase the risk of NCDs, as well as metabolic issues such as raised blood pressure, obesity, and raised blood glucose. These metabolic issues in turn contribute to an increased risk of NCDs in an individual.

So, why is this important to us, and how can exercise help?

It has been found that 73% of the deaths in Malaysia (that also happens to be Asia’s most obese country) were caused by NCDs, with cardiovascular diseases being the leading cause of half of that percentage.

Individuals who are obese are put at a much greater risk of many diseases, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease. How can we counter this? The answer is simple – a healthy diet and regular exercise.

 

Healthy foods and exercise

(Image: Google)

 

Understandably, dieting might be a difficult feat for many. Especially in the land of extremely good food, and even more so with the many festive seasons all throughout the year! However, just keeping more active, even in the slightest bit, can help reduce your chances of NCDs. According to a journal article carried out by The Lancet, it has been found that physical inactivity has strong correlation with major NCDs, and that physical activity would increase one’s life expectancy.

Benefits aside, how do we commit to exercising regularly? Especially when workload is high and time is scarce. How do we fit in exercise on top of our careers, relationships, and attempts at regular sleep cycles? Never mind that, how do we even begin if we’re starting from zero?

 

Here are some easy and practical steps to incorporate exercise into our daily lives:

  1. Take the stairs instead of the lift/escalator
  2. Intentionally park further away from the office/store entrance
  3. Take part in activities that are personally fun and enjoyable – for example: hiking, dancing, maybe even gardening!
  4. Do your own house chores. Instead of calling the part-time maid or sending your car to the car wash, do it yourself!
  5. Improve your posture in the office – maintaining a good posture activates your postural muscles and strengthens them. On certain days, you can even change up your regular chair in place of a stability/gym ball
  6. Take public transport

 

These tips may be simple to some, but it may also make a huge change in others. The point is to keep pushing yourself to go beyond what you are comfortable in. Maintaining an active lifestyle through regular exercise is key in injury and disease prevention – especially in terms of NCDs. When you exercise regularly and exercise right, it will keep you fitter, healthier, and feeling better.

If you already regularly practice these tips, great job! As a next step, try your best to carve out time to hit the gym at least once a week. If you don’t have the time for that, working out at home is fine, too. There are plenty of home workouts that can be found all over the internet. Set a goal (e.g. exercise three times a week, take a walk in the park for 15 minutes everyday, etc.) for yourself and work towards it.

 

(Image: Google)

 

We at Spinefit Chiropractic are strong advocates of exercise. To make sure that we walk the talk, we even regularly carry out team physiotherapy workout sessions! If you’re recovering from an injury or are experiencing pains and would like to know how rehabilitative exercise and chiropractic can help you, book an initial consultation with our team today.

 

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This article was written by one of our holiday interns, Sarah Tan with the additional input from Jer Shin, our lead physiotherapist. Sarah is currently completing her 3rd Year Bachelor of Science in Chiropractic at the International Medical University (IMU) here in Kuala Lumpur. During her internship with us, she would often come in early to workout before the start of her shift! #sado