Exercise Matters

There are four key patterns of results that emerge. First, the lagged effect of physical activity is almost always larger than the current effect. This suggests that current risk factors, not only obesity but also high blood pressure and heart rate, take years to develop, which underscores the importance of consistent physical activity to ward off heart disease. Second, we find that in general physical activity reduces risk factors for heart disease even after controlling, to some extent, for unobservable confounding influences. Third, not only recreational but work-related physical activity appears to protect against heart disease. Finally, there is evidence of a dose-response relationship such that higher levels of recreational exercise and other physical activity have a greater protective effect. Our estimates of the contemporaneous and durable effects suggest that the observed declines in high levels of recreational exercise and other physical activity can potentially account for between 12-30% of the increase in obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease observed over the sample period, ceteris paribus.

Source: NBER Working Paper.

Comments (10)

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  1. Samuel Roberts says:

    Nothing new here…I think we all know that physical activity correlates with decreased obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc…

  2. CBrady says:

    Makes sense

  3. Jimmer says:

    Excercise certainly matters!!! If you want to stay alive for a long time, you have to regularly work out!

  4. Estephanie says:

    Of course it matters. Just as much as eating healthy meals. The misconception many people have is that even if you eat homemade meals that you know are healthy enough for you, then you don’t need to exercise. Not true. Eating healthy certainly helps a lot. However, in order to remain in good health, physicial activity is crutial. Not to mention the fact that it’s been proven that it makes you happier and a more active individual.

  5. Studebaker says:

    This is both good news, and bad news. Good news because it’s cheap and effective. Bad new, because people just don’t want to do it.

  6. Samuel Roberts says:

    Still not sure what this post or research reveals that we don’t know yet…

  7. Patel says:

    Everyday fitness is also good for mental health. Researches indicate that 30 minutes of physical activity everyday boost mental state, boost will-power, and overall makes us feel better. Plus given that sitting is the smoking of our generation, we need more physical activities than ever before.

  8. Hoover says:

    “the lagged effect of physical activity is almost always larger than the current effect.”

    The NBER produces some really quality work.. but sometimes, just…duh.

  9. Jack says:

    I absolutely love the last line. Well why I love economists in general.

    Ceteris Paribus.

  10. Gabriel Odom says:

    I’m a little annoyed that my tax dollars just went to show that exercise is good for you.

    Next up on the NBER docket: New Study Confirms Orange Juice has Vitamin C in it