Exercise can cancel out the booze, says study

(CNN)You might want to chase that next beer with a little exercise. Exercising the recommended amount “cancels out” the higher risk of cancer death brought about by drinking, a new study revealed. Similarly, physical activity lessened any greater risk of death resulting from any cause due to alcohol.

With its “very high standing” in Western culture, “alcohol will continue to be abused despite the damage it causes to the health of individuals and society in general,” said Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis, senior author of the study, which appeared today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and an associate professor at the University of Sydney’s medical school. Yet, policies to regulate consumption have never worked well, explained Stamatakis. Since people continue to drink, this realistic researcher and his colleagues decided to see whether the harms of drinking might be offset by the benefits of exercising.

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Observation over time

Stamatakis and his colleagues gathered data from health surveys conducted in England and Scotland. Then the researchers grouped the study participants — 36,370 people, all 40 years of age or older — into three categories: people who are not very active, those who do a moderate amount of exercising, and those who do the most. Next, the research team looked at alcohol use among the participants.

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Because it is an observational study, the results only “suggest a relationship” between exercise, drinking and health benefits, said Michael Hyek, senior director of OhioHealth’s McConnell Heart Health Center. The researchers relied on self-reported accounts of lifestyle factors, which may or may not be reliable, and they didn’t study eating habits or medication use or other factors that might play a role in how exercise plays into health when drinking is involved, noted Hyek, who was not involved in the research.
Still, Stamatakis believes his study gives “yet another reason” to promote physical activity and make the environment more conducive to physical activity and generally empower people to sit less. “How many more reasons do we need for physical activity to be taken seriously?” he asked.
With this, Hyek has no argument. The benefits of moderate intensity exercise include stress reduction, the prevention, control and reversal of diabetes, and a positive impact on blood pressure, body weight and depression, he explained.
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“I know very few chronic medical conditions that exercise will not have a positive impact on,” said Hyek. “It’s a good thing regardless of what your circumstances are.”

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/07/health/exercise-alcohol-and-death-risk/index.html

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