From a post by 'Soulskill' on Slashdot, who provided an excellent summary of research from Johns Hopkins, subsequently described and summarised by Mayo Clinic: "Cardiologists from Johns Hopkins have published an analysis of exercise data that strongly links a patient's performance on a treadmill to their risk of dying. Using data from stress tests of over 58,000 people, they report: "[A]mong people of the same age and gender, fitness level as measured by Maximal Exercise Testing (METs) and peak heart rate reached during exercise were the greatest indicators of death risk. Fitness level was the single most powerful predictor of death and survival (my emphasis), even after researchers accounted for other important variables such as diabetes and family history of premature death — a finding that underscores the profound importance of heart and lung fitness, the investigators say." The scoring system is from -200 to +200. People scoring between -100 and 0 face an 11% risk of dying in the next decade. People scoring between -200 and -100 face a 38% risk of death within the next decade. People scoring above zero face only a 3% chance or less."
Johns Hopkins article:
“The notion that being in good physical shape portends lower death risk is by no means new, but we wanted to quantify that risk precisely by age, gender and fitness level, and do so with an elegantly simple equation that requires no additional fancy testing beyond the standard stress test,” says lead investigator Haitham Ahmed, M.D. M.P.H., a cardiology fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine."
Mayo Clinic discussion article on above:
Note what's included in the conclusion "The FIT Treadmill Score should be validated in external populations."
Discussion on Slashdot:
While the research was on patients that had undergone treadmill stress testing to assess their cardiovascular health, given the importance of good cardiovascular health for a good quality of life as well as a good life expectancy, this is indeed interesting research. As one Slashdotter commented: "What counts is physical fitness. The treadmill is just used here as an instrument to quantify it." So if you can't walk easily, try to find some other way of exercising regularly.
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