Exercise can help fend off disease

June 17, 2013

We all know that regular exercise has numerous health benefits – a few hours spent on your home treadmill each week can help you shed pounds, reduce stress and improve your focus. However, new research suggests that your fitness routine may have an additional, important effect on your health: It can reduce inflammation, which can help you fend of disease.

According to Dr. Brent Bauer, a member of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter editorial board, inflammation appears to play a role in many chronic diseases, including arthritis, heart conditions and Crohn’s Disease.

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, according to Prevention, and it thickens the vessels and arteries that are responsible for transporting your blood. If inflammation gets out of control, it can make it difficult for your heart to work properly.

Inflammation may not seem like a serious health condition on the surface, and more often than not it isn’t, but if it gets out of control and becomes chronic it can make it difficult to fight disease later in life.

Previously, medical experts had recommended that people suffering from inflammation avoid physical activity. However, new research suggests that the exact opposite is true. In fact, a combination of aerobic and resistance training may actually reduce inflammation, according to Greatist.

For example, a study from Mark Hamer, PhD, an epidemiologist at University College London, followed 4,000 middle-age men and women over a period of 10 years. Hamer found that regardless of the body mass index or weight of the participants, those who completed approximately 20 minutes of exercise per day were able to lower their inflammation by at least 12 percent.

So what does this mean for you? If you have chronic inflammation, a bit of time spent on your fitness treadmill each week may actually do you good. If you want to engage in a bit more low-impact exercise, try spending about half an hour on an elliptical machine each day.

By combining cardio exercise with resistance training, such as leg presses and bicep curls, you may be able to even further reduce inflammation – not to mention shedding a few pounds in the process.

The key is to raise your heart rate, according to Hamer. By exercising on a TRUE Fitness treadmill with HRC Cruise Control, you can be sure you are doing just that by locking into your target heart rate and maintaining it throughout your workout.