EAST ANGLIA, England, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- A British physiotherapist says making just one lifestyle change -- exercise -- can help improve health.
Leslie Alford of the University of East Anglia, England, who has reviewed 40 international studies on the value of exercise, takes issue with those who say: "What's the point? I've never been able to lose weight or give up smoking, why should I exercise?"
Of course, says Alford, it would be ideal to exercise, abstain from smoking, eat a healthy diet and have a body mass index -- a measure of body weight based on height -- lower than 25.
"The more of these healthy traits an individual has the less likely they are to develop a range of chronic disorders," Alford says in a statement. "It is obviously desirable for an individual to give up smoking and maintain a healthy weight range, but if they cannot, they will still gain health benefits from increasing their physical activity."
Alford says it is important patients understand the health benefits of losing weight or giving up smoking. However, if a patient cannot lose weight or give up smoking, he or she should still be encouraged to be more physically active.
Alford's review is published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.