DD, Aged 17

    When people would talk they didn't know what to say which was understandable.  more...


    Mimi - 15 years old

    I lost myself doing stupid things, angry and sad and depressed at everything. I ended up failing my classes, not caring about school, and getting into fights.  more...


    Chelsea - 14 years old

    I stuck my head round the door in the room mum was in, and she looked really ill. I couldn't understand what was happening - one minute my mum was fine and the next she was ill.  more...


    Clair - aged 14

    Something I wish is I could just have one more day with my dad! - to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for all the bad things I have said and done to him!  more...


    Nicole - 17 years old

    This time the doctors are unable to operate. He has already had 6 sessions of chemo and is having another 6 sessions. I cannot help feeling I may lose him.  more...


    Rirrif - 15 years old

    I have been staying with my dad because my mom doesn't want me around when she is sick, which is all the time. My dad works at night so I spend a lot of time alone since I'm not with my mom. I'm afraid she is going to die and I'll blame myself for not being there more. more...


    HT - 13 years old

    She has been so strong about this and is keen to put it all behind her.  more...

Exercise and health

Study shows that people who did some form of activity - even if it was just bursts of activity once or twice a week - had a reduced risk of dying within the next 10 years compared to people who were not active in any way at all.

The benefits of keeping active are many and there is an increasing amount of research on how physical activity might have a positive impact on our health. One such study looked at whether different levels of activity had any impact on people’s risk of dying of heart disease and cancer. The study looked at data (information from questionnaires) from 63 591 people (study participants) over the age of 40 who lived in England and Scotland and the study lasted from 1994 to 2012.

The researchers split the study participants into four groups depending on whether and how often they did various types of exercise: Group 1 consisted of people who did not do any types of exercise and that group was called the “inactive” group. Group 2 were people who did some exercise but less than recommended by guidelines and they were called “insufficiently active”. The researchers were particularly interested in investigating people who weren’t particularly active on a regular basis throughout the week but had bursts of activity in one or two sessions. This was Group 3 and they were called “weekend warriors”. Group 4 consisted of people who did at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity or at least 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity from three or more sessions. This group was called “regularly active”. The researchers also gathered information about other factors that were thought to be relevant for people’s health and fitness so that these could be taken into consideration when they compared the four different groups.

The results from the study showed that people who did some form of activity (Groups 2, 3 and 4) had a reduced risk of dying within the next 10 years compared to the group of people who were not active in any way. However, the researchers found that the group of people who only exercised a couple of times a week (the weekend warriors) did not have a reduced risk of dying from cancer within the next 10 years compared to people who were regularly active and even those who were categorized as “insufficiently active”. The “weekend warriors” did have a reduced risk of dying from heart disease though. But the “insufficiently active” and the “regularly active” people had a reduced risk of dying from both cancer and heart disease.

It can be very hard to interpret and draw conclusions from research like this because there are so many factors that may not be part of the research. For example the researchers only asked about the last 4 weeks and that may not have been typical weeks for some of the study participants. Also, when we ask about things that people have to remember, they don’t always remember correctly so some of the information people give may not be accurate. Another thing is that in this study, the group that was classified as being “weekend warriors” only made up 3.9% of all the people who took part in the study. Therefore, the analyses from this small group may not be completely reliable. Another thing to remember is that this study only looked at associations with dying from cancer and heart disease, and it did not investigate whether the different types of activity had any impact on developing the diseases in the first place.

Still, this study helps researchers find out more about the role of physical activity in relation to dying from illnesses like cancer and heart disease. It tells us that any type of activity is better than being inactive so we should all try to fit more exercise into our lives to help us stay healthy. You can find out about activity guidelines for children and young people from this link. And if you want to read more about this particular study you can find it on the NHS Choices website.

This article was first published : 18.1.2017

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