New Study: Smokers Almost as Fit as Those Who Don’t Exercise

Exploring Intensity

New Study: Smokers Almost as Fit as Those Who Don’t Exercise

Please don’t mistake this headline for a promotion of a pack-a-day habit. Smoking remains one of the most damaging things you can do to your body. But a new study says that even if you don’t smoke, not exercising may be almost as bad.

Swedish researchers tracked 1,000 men, who were all fifty years old, starting in 1963. They followed all of them until their deaths, and have now sifted through the data to reveal some potentially crucial information.

The men were first tested for basic health markers in 1963, then four years later many were tested again but this time with their aerobic capacity. This included a chance for them to see the subjects’ VO2max, which researchers still believe is the best gauge of health.

Then, when they went hunting for the the most problematic lifestyle choices of the men, they found that smoking, surprise surprise, was the worst health choice.

But even for non-smokers, having a low VO2 max was nearly as bad as those who puffed throughout their lives. In fact, they had about a 42% chance of early death compared to the most fit men and a 21% higher chance just against the average person.

While high blood pressure and cholesterol aren’t great, a low VO2max was by far the worst.

Now, while we would love to see a few more of these studies, we aren’t shocked about this. As we said, researchers have long believed this may show your “true” age. So while trashing the Camels should be priority #1, after that you need to get off your butt. It’s never too late.

-Shane M.