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There is now irrefutable evidence that physical inactivity plays a major role in the pathogenesis of many chronic diseases that result in reduced life expectancy.1 In addition, maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness and regular physical activity throughout the lifespan are important not only to reduce morbidity and mortality, but also to maintain health, functional capacity and enhance quality of life in later years.2 The focus on the health impact of increasing body weight and central adiposity has been countered by recent evidence that, to preserve cardiometabolic health and longevity, maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness during middle age is more important than changes in body weight.2 However, the importance of maintaining physical fitness and regular physical activity throughout the lifespan has yet to be fully recognised by the general public and indeed by many medical practitioners.
While epidemiological data are important, cohort studies cannot prove cause and effect. Thus, exercise training studies that investigate the cellular mechanisms underlying improvements in cardiometabolic health and longevity …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.