Stay one step ahead of disease

You can outrun disease like metabolic syndrome, and you don't even have to move very fast. A quick walk or a light jog is all it takes to stay a step ahead of diabetes, heart disease, and more.

I've written to you before about the dangers of being sedentary as well as the benefits of even light movement. Now, a new study confirms that you can get fit, stay healthy, avoid disease, and more -- and it starts with a brisk walk.

Researchers tracked more than 10,000 Danish adults from age 21 all the way up to 98 for up to a decade, quizzing them about their levels of physical activity along the way.

Not at all surprisingly, the ones who engaged in either fast walking or jogging for between two and four hours a week -- that's as little as 20 minutes a day -- were 50 percent less likely to develop metabolic syndrome when compared to those who walked slower, walked less, or didn't walk at all.

Metabolic syndrome is often a precursor to prediabetes, diabetes, and heart disease -- so you definitely want to take every step you can to avoid it.

Just make sure it's a lively step. A slow walk for even an hour day, for example, may be a great habit to have -- but it won't lower the risk of metabolic syndrome, according to the study in BMJ Open.

Along with preventing metabolic syndrome, a daily jog or run can help awaken the disease-fighting T-cells of the immune system. And in another new study, it actually helped transform those cells in cancer survivors.

After just 12 weeks of jogging, their T-cells went from a weakened state to a much more powerful one better able to fight the cancer and keep it from returning.

Maybe that's why joggers and runners have a lower risk of some cancers in the first place.

And that's still not all getting up and moving around can do for you -- because another new study finds that simply not sitting all day can slash your risk of kidney disease.

That's one of the nation's top 10 killers, responsible for more than 50,000 deaths every year. But if you sit less, you can avoid it.

For women, sitting for less than 3 hours a day can slash the risk of the disease by 30 percent when compared to sitting for 8 hours a day or more. For men, the risk is cut by around 20 percent, according to the study of 5,650 Brits.

The important thing to remember here is that a little daily exercise isn't going to make up for sitting all day long -- and in the new study, even people who got that exercise faced the same increased risk of kidney disease if they were sitting the rest of the time.

So go out for a run, get some exercise, and keep moving.

But just as importantly, remember to get out of your seat and on your feet throughout the day as well.