Fit Young Adults Will Build Protection against Disease

The Topeka Capital-Journal, April 15, 2016 | Go to article overview

Fit Young Adults Will Build Protection against Disease


Dear Doctor K: I believe you when you say that regular exercise protects my health. But I'm just 20. For me the question is, when should I begin regular exercise? The diseases that exercise protects against usually don't develop until a person is older than 60. I'd like not to have to worry about exercise for a few decades.

Dear Reader: I wish I could rid you of that worry. But, in fact, if you are not already exercising regularly, you are probably putting your health at risk 30 years from now. Many of the diseases that exercise protects against actually start in young adulthood and take decades to become severe enough to cause symptoms.

Many studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have lower rates of heart disease, strokes, diabetes and several types of cancer. It is true that those studies have usually been done in adults over age 50. However, a new study of young adults, like you, comes to the same conclusion.

The study was performed at Johns Hopkins and was published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Nearly 5,000 young adults, ages 18-30, were included. Then they were followed for nearly 27 years. The study participants came from different geographic areas in the United States. There were both males and females and people of different racial and ethnic groups. …

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