Exercise Improves Your Circulation, Extends Your Life

Slowing down the progression of peripheral artery disease (PAD) can be as easy as taking a walk in the park, at least three times a week. More physically active PAD patients, however, can reduce their risk of death significantly, according to a new study.

Scientists monitored the health of more than 450 patients with PAD, a condition in which fat builds up in the inner linings of arterial walls in the legs. The physical activity of close to half of the patients was monitored for a week while the rest were merely interviewed about their exercise habits.

Five years later, almost a third of the participants had died, including 40 percent due to cardiovascular disease. The real moral of the study: Those with lowest amount of physical activity tripled their chances of death. Even after adjusting the study -- eliminating patients who died two years after the study began -- more physical activity translated to lower mortality rates.

The trick about exercise: It can do a great deal of good against depression, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease, but only if you treat it like a drug that must be prescribed precisely to achieve the most benefits.

Circulation July 3, 2006

EurekAlert July 5, 2006

Yahoo News July 5, 2006

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