By Michael Greger M.D. · Men and women placed on a plant based diet with exercise were found to have levels of growth hormones in their blood drop dramatically, which could reduce cancer risk. Exercise (briskly walking just a few miles a day) may cut the risk of dying from heart disease in half. It appears to be possible to even reverse heart disease through diet and exercise (see here, here, here, here). Additionally, an hour of moderately intense exercise may significantly decrease breast cancer risk. And there also evidence that cancer survivors may survive longer if they exercise. Exercise has also been found to possibly reverse mild cognitive impairment and to cause bad cholesterol to drop and good cholesterol to rise (see also here). Vegans who exercise no more than meat eaters have been found to still weigh, on average, forty pounds less. In another study, even after controlling for weight and exercise, vegans had half the diabetes risk as meat eaters. Endorphins (natural pain relievers) are released during exercise. Even activities such as walking and gardening increase physical activity levels. Exercise has been found in the Harvard Nurse’s Study to extend a woman’s life (see also here). Beets have been found to boost athletic performance by possibly increasing energy extraction from oxygen (see here, here, here, here, here). Lowering blood pressure and increasing exercise tolerance may be due to vegetable nitrate intake (see here, here, here, here, here). And increased blood oxygenation (associated with increased aerobic fitness) causes increased blood redness, which may explain why skin redness (rosy glow) has been associated with increased attractiveness. Moderate alcohol consumption for a minimally healthy person who exercises for 30 minutes day has been found to have no longevity benefit. Lack of exercise is a risk factor for obesity (see also here). The economic downturn has been associated with increased exercise. Wrigleys has pointed out that chewing gum expends 11 calories/hour, but that hardly counts as exercise! Unfortunately, many doctors are not aware of the possible healing effects of lifestyle modifications such as exercise so patients may need to inform and empower themselves. Dr. Greger covers exercise in his full-length presentation, Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, where he explores the role diet may play in preventing, treating, and even reversing our top 15 killers.