Very often when talking to patients, they will ask about diet. What can they eat, what they should avoid. But never have I been asked how much exercise they should do. I guess that is because to not eat that juicy fried chicken is easier than to run that 1km.
However, exercise is the one thing that will make patient feel better. In a recent study, it has been shown to decrease mortality.
At the recommended minimum, which translates into 2hr to 4.5hr of brisk walking or 45min to 1.5hr of running per week, there was a 31% reduction in all-cause risk. Even if you did something, but less than 2 hours per week of walking, there was a 20% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality. At two to three times the recommend minimum (15.0 to <22.5 MET hours per week, which is 4.5hr to 7hr of walking or 1.5hr to 2hrs of running), there was a 37% reduction in mortality. Beyond three times the recommended minimum, there was a 39% reduction in mortality, a benefit that appeared to plateau at this volume of exercise.
This was an observational study across the age range from 21-98 years old over a 14 year period. So change into your exercise gear and start running. Start at an achievable goal. Aim for just half an hour of walking 5 days a week. Once you feel comfortable, increase your speed and break into short jogs. Once you can jog for just half hour 5 days a week, you would have hit that recommended exercise dosage. And that is better than any medicine you can take or any diet you can tolerate.
Ref: Arem H, Moore SC, Patel A. Leisure time physical activity and mortality: a detailed pooled analysis of the dose-response relationship. JAMA Intern Med 2015; DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.0533.