Researchers in a number of countries, always on the look out for new things to test and measure, have spent several years looking into whether there are any differences in the effects of physical activity on reducing cardiovascular disease in different income groups.
The main difference in types of activity between higher and lower income groups, is that among richer people, that activity is more often intended, eg by working up a sweat in your aqua zumba class.
Among poorer groups it’s more of a free benefit that comes with their employment, eg having to stack bricks all day in 40º heat or spending your life doing the ironing.
The good news is that – yes! – either way is good for reducing your chance of dying from cardiovascular disease.
So whether you are out for a relaxing jog or escaping from prison, it all counts.
Also in the good news category is that there seems to be no limit to how much physical activity you can do before it stops having a beneficial cardiovascular effect.
At least, that is how Saint Peacock interprets the following:
“Physical activity is associated with reduced risk of mortality and incident cardiovascular disease in all regions of the world. The greatest reductions occurred at the lowest and continued to be present at very high levels of physical activity with no indication of a ceiling effect. In addition, both recreational and non-recreational physical activity were associated with lower risks.”
And before you faint with delight, physical activity is a “low cost approach” to reducing the menace of CVD, which means “can’t afford it” is now officially sealed off as an excuse.
Obviously if you prefer to be personally trained at an obscenely expensive facility, no one is going to stop you.
The report, published in medical detective weekly The Lancet, says high physical activity is better than moderate physical activity, which in turn is better than low physical activity, regardless of where you live in the world, so for all those people in the spoilt west slowly ballooning on the sofa and feeling superior to poor foreigners, they may have the last laugh as the mason chisels “death by crisp” on your headstone.
Or to put it in the kind of language those with a scientific background will grasp: “Increasing physical activity is a simple, widely applicable, low cost global strategy that could reduce deaths and CVD in middle age.”
For a bunch of academics, who live to over-complicate, this is about as clear and plain a message as you will ever get.