Many people, seemingly the majority of the population, do absolutely no cardio exercise.

There’s no such thing as a person who doesn’t need to do cardio (or aerobic) exercise.

There has been groundbreaking research from the University of South Australia.

Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study reveals that an increase in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) levels can reduce the risk of death from any cause by 11-17%, and specifically, the risk of heart disease by 18%.

The study, led by Professor Grant Tomkinson of the University of South Australia and Dr. Justin Lang from the Public Health Agency of Canada, is the first to compile scientific evidence linking CRF to health outcomes among adults.

It encompasses 26 systematic reviews with meta-analysis, representing more than 20.9 million observations from 199 cohort studies.

Professor Tomkinson emphasizes that CRF, which reflects one’s ability to perform prolonged physical activity such as jogging, an aerobics class or a cardio machine, is crucial for good health.

The research shows a strong and consistent association between high levels of CRF and reduced risks of premature death and various chronic diseases, including heart failure, depression, diabetes, dementia and cancer.

The study found that each 1-MET increase in CRF — equivalent to the energy used while sitting quietly — correlates with an 11-17% reduction in the risk of early death and an 18% reduction in heart disease risk.

Dr. Lang points out that improving CRF can be achieved through regular aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for at least 150 minutes a week.

He stresses that the responsibility for enhancing fitness should not only be on individuals but also on healthcare providers.

Regular assessment of CRF in clinical practice could help identify those at greater risk of early death and facilitate the implementation of targeted exercise programs.

This study highlights the importance of integrating CRF assessment into public health practices to support people in improving their health outcomes through regular physical activity.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness, where she was also a group fitness instructor, she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.