Exercising In Open Spaces Offers Benefits Against Non-Communicable Diseases, Study Shows

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Recent research from the University of Exeter suggests that opting for outdoor exercise like jogging or hiking over indoor treadmill workouts could have significant health benefits. The study indicates that exercising in nature may prevent numerous cases of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and depression, potentially saving lives and reducing healthcare costs by millions of dollars.

Outdoor physical activity can prevent non-communicable diseases

Researchers suggests that outdoor physical activity prevents around 13,000 cases of non-communicable diseases annually in England, saving over $125 million in treatment expenses.

The World Health Organization states that non-communicable diseases, like diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer, and chronic lung disease, cause 74 percent of global deaths. These diseases are not contagious but are increasing in prevalence worldwide. The study in Environment International found that in 2019, physical activity in nature prevented numerous cases of various diseases.

Insufficient physical activity is linked to numerous non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular issues, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and mental health problems. The WHO predicts around 500 million new cases globally between 2020 and 2030 if current activity levels persist, resulting in over $26 billion in yearly treatment expenses, as per the Global Status Report on Physical Activity 2022.

The recent study examined the impact of outdoor environments on physical activity and health. By analyzing data from a survey of the British population, researchers assessed the role of nature-based recreational activities in preventing six non-communicable diseases. The study focused on areas like beaches, countryside, and urban parks.

Moderate aerobic activity weekly enhances good health

Global health institutions emphasize the need to increase physical activity levels among all demographics. The World Health Organization advises adults aged 18 to 64 to engage in 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise weekly or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity to maintain good health.

Dr. Grellier suggests that nature-based physical activity is a more accessible option for those who don’t engage in organized sports or fitness activities due to various reasons. Investing in natural spaces like parks can encourage physical activity among the local population, according to the study.

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