Kathryn Lindsay
Updated Aug 01, 2015 @ 11:54 am

The next time you think about calling in sick to P.E., think again. A recent study discovered that women who were active as adolescents have a lower risk of getting cancer, and can prevent their risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease. Whoa.

The study, authored by Sarah J. Nechuta, an assistant professor medicine at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee, followed over 75,000 Chinese women ages 40 to 70. By asking about their activity level as teens, and then studying them for 13 years, researchers were able to determine that the women who were more active when they were younger were less likely to die from cancer, cardiovascular disease and other causes. Specifically, the women were 16% less likely to suffer from cancer, and 15% less likely to experience death from any other causes. It really puts that rope-climbing unit into perspective, doesn’t it?

The news gets better. For the women who were active as teens who continued to exercise into adulthood, their risk was 20% lower than those who did not exercise at all. According to Nechuta, the message of this study is pretty clear:

Now, this doesn’t mean go for a jog and you’re good. It’s less likely that the exercise was the sole determinant of health, rather than that the prevalence of exercise contributed to more healthy behavior overall. This means maintaining a healthy diet and abstaining from things like alcohol and drugs.

Basically, if you’re reading this on your couch, don’t fear. Use this as inspiration to suffer through your next timed mile, and to swap the potato chips for fruit when it comes to your after school snack. And if you do all this with a smile on your face, I bet you’ll live forever.

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