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Another Sign that Fitness is a Critical Factor in Life Expectancy - Treadmill Performance Predicts Mortality

Another Sign that Fitness is a Critical Factor in Life Expectancy - Treadmill Performance Predicts Mortality

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.


Photo: Kite surfer becoming airborne at my local beach

7 Replies

Interesing article thanks, local beach looks good.


Any studies about fitness in CLL patients at various stages? i.e. should a CLL patient start a carefully planned exercise program, and if so, how intense?


No studies... but I dropped my absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) with an exercise program and lost 120 lbs... obesity is thought to cause inflamation...that pumps the immune system...

The benefit is that I could withstand a year of treatment.. 'bounce back' as my doctor called it...

Anecdotal ...absolutely...!


I got myself a FitBit for my 60th birthday. I'm trying to gradually increase my steps, while decreasing my calorie intake.

I did a cardio stress test on Tuesday - the treadmill, no drugs. Today, 3 days later, I finally felt the impact - a slight burning sensation in the legs, huge fatigue, even slightly dizzy.

I think some of my fatigue comes from a cycle of overdoing things. We often look for the impact the next day, but I think the impact horizon from stress and heavy exercise has to be extended.

So my plan is to gradually increase, and resist temptation to be overly active on the days I feel great.


Have you been on a holter monitor? Is your doctor following this?

I found that if I set a middle course everyday, then somedays you could still do it with effort, other days it was quite easy... the easy days raise your spirits...

Over time, like months, you may want to increase your activity, and then again you will have good days and effort days...

Slow and steady, with small increments...


I have not had the "fun" of a holter monitor. My heart seems to be doing fairly well - a little enlarged on the right side. But my lungs are larger than normal - possibly because of mild asthma. I never get blue in the face, but cold air, pollen, and strenuous exercise bring out the wheeze. I was also into bicycle racing as a teen back in the 1970s - till I was hit by a speeding car. But I used to be able to do 25 mile days on the bike as a kid.

I do plan to raise my steps gradually - I agree that that's the key. I've worn a step counter of some type for about 10 years now. My counts steadily went down with the fatigue, and were part of the reason I went on the diagnostic odyssey.

I had been using an app called Noom on my phone, which is not too accurate for all day use. All counters can be fooled or miss some valid steps. But the FitBit promises to show periods of more intense activity, and also show how often the user moves around while sleeping, too. The FitBit One seems to have a more reliable reputation than their other models. Their calorie app is better than Noom's, too.


Perhaps another reason to look after your cardiovascular system - New study suggests ageing has little impact on brain function:


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