Posted on Feb 05, 2019, 12 a.m.
Researchers are worried that those with chronic disease are not being active enough as a study involving over 96,000 men and women has found that those with chronic conditions are spending less time on physical activity than healthy peers, and are missing out on benefits.
The University of Oxford measured duration and intensity of physical activity levels over 7 days and compared participants with and without chronic disease of over 96,000 participants with an average age of 64.5. Results showed those with chronic disease, even those that do not directly limit capacity for exercise, spent considerably less time being physically active.
Approximately 15 million people suffer from chronic disease within the UK; major types include cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and mental health conditions. Such chronic conditions are not passed from person to person, typically develop slowly, and often are characterised by the need for long term management.
Healthy participants were found to spend over an hour more on moderate activities, and 3 minutes more on vigorous activity a week than those with chronic disease. Those with mental health disorders were found to have had the lowest moderate activity levels spending 2.5 hours less per week than the average 11.8 hours of healthy peers.
Some conditions can limit capacity for exercise such as reduced oxygen supply or lessened motivation to engage in everyday activities. However not all chronic disease necessarily affect the capacity to be active. Some ill participants may have been habitually inactive, but the sick roles may have played part in the active group as well influencing the tendency to exercise.
W.H.O recommends adults should be moderately active for at least 150 minutes per week to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and help stem onset of progressive and potentially multiple chronic disease diagnoses.
What diseases patients are suffering from may not be what will kills them, reduction in physical activity consequent on having a disease will put them at risk of other serious chronic conditions such as diabetes and certain cancers. Findings suggest that doctors should be asking how much physical activity patients are getting and highlight negative and positive outcomes of it to take advantage of a window of opportunity to act and help tackle this burden of disease, according to the researchers.
Materials provided by University of Oxford.
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Joseph Barker, Karl Smith Byrne, Aiden Doherty, Charlie Foster, Kazem Rahimi, Rema Ramakrishnan, Mark Woodward, Terence Dwyer. Physical activity of UK adults with chronic disease: cross-sectional analysis of accelerometer-measured physical activity in 96 706 UK Biobank participants. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyy294