According to a new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, exercising and playing team sports in adolescence might reap long-term health benefits for women. Researchers involved in the study are saying that women who exercise as teenagers are less likely to die from cancer and other causes.

When analyzing how often women tend to exercise as teenagers, researchers came to know that physical activities of just 1.3 hours per week has significant positive impact on women’s health when they grow older.

Sarah Nechuta of Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville said that the primary finding of the study is that exercising during adolescence has strong association with decreased death or mortality risk in women who are middle-aged or older.

The study revealed that women who regularly exercised during their teens had 16% lower risk of dying from cancer compared to women who were not physically active as teenagers. The risk of dying from all other causes, on the other hand, was found to be 15% lower among women who were physically active during adolescence.

Nechuta said that the results of this new study showed how important it is to make teens realize the benefits of exercising and make them take part in physical activities of some kind. She added that the results also highlight the significance of initiating disease prevention during the early years of an individual’s life.

All these findings are based on data presented by a study involving 75,000 women in Shanghai, China. The study was carried out at the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, under the leadership of Wei Zheng.

It’s true that the findings are based on data obtained from a group of women from China. Still, the fact that taking part in physical activities during adolescence reaps long term health benefits for women could apply to every single woman on this planet.

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According to Nechuta, there’s no reason to believe that effects of exercising on women would differ depending on their location.

Here, it must be mentioned that the age of the women participating in the study were between 40 and 70 years during their recruitment. The recruitment process took place from 1996 to 2000. During the study, the women had to answer a series of questions about different lifestyle factors and their exercising habits as teenagers.