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The benefits of exercise

Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

Physical exercise is one of the most effective methods of preventing disease. The current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2009; 106[40]: 713󈞇) is devoted to this important topic.

The first article (see, by Carl D. Reimers and coauthors, deals with the remarkable potential of physical exercise to prevent stroke. In men, exercise lowers the risk of cerebral hemorrhage by 40%, and that of cerebral infarction by 27%. Rapid walking or cycling suffices to achieve this effect. In women, a statistically significant effect has not been demonstrated.

In the second article (see, sports physician Martin Halle and his collaborators present the finding that regular walking lowers the risk of colorectal carcinoma, the most common type of cancer in Germany, by 40%. Patients with colorectal carcinoma can also improve their prognosis by exercising.

Professor Leyk of the German Sport University in Cologne opens this special issue with an editorial (see, in which he asks the critical question why the tremendous preventive and therapeutic benefits of exercise are still underutilized in clinical medicine.


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