Women Who Exercise as Teens May Live Longer
Exercise during teenage years may help women reduce their chance of dying in middle age from diseases such as cancer and other causes. Researchers at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, TN studied 75,000 Chinese women between age 40 and 70. Researchers asked whether or not these women had exercised between 13 and 19 years old, and how much if they had. Researchers also took into account the women’s general lifestyle habits, as well as if they exercised in adulthood. The women were then monitored for 13 years to see which passed away from cancers, cardiovascular disease or other similar causes.
During this period, 5,282 of the women died, 2.375 of whom died from cancer, and 1,620 from cardiovascular disease. However, regardless of adult exercise, those women who exercised earlier in life displayed a “reduced risk of cancer and all-cause mortality.”
Exercising for at least 80 minutes a week reduced cancer risk by 16 percent and a 15 percent reduction in all-cause disease, compared to those who did not exercise as teens. In addition, women who continued to exercise as adults were shown to have a 20 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, along with a 17 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and 13 percent lower risk of cancer.
The results were published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Although a relationship was noted by the researchers, they stressed that these results do not explain a direct cause and effect of lower mortality. The answers to the study were also self-reported, which may have affected the results. However, this does promote the importance of exercise early in life, which can help model healthy habits that you’ll carry into adulthood.