A gallstone is a solid deposit that develops in the gall bladder, a pear-shaped organ which stores bile salts that the body needs to digest fatty foods.
Gallstones can cause severe pain. They can also cause life-threatening complications and they are the most common conditions that affect the gall bladder. They account for about 90 percent of diseases that affect the gall bladder and bile duct.
Gall stones are most common in people who live sedentary lifestyles. A study conducted by the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK suggests that people who engage in regular exercise routines are less likely to develop this potentially dangerous disease.
According to the research, 15 percent of women and 30 percent of men have the tendency to develop gall stones. This can be reduced by as much as 70 percent if everyone will do the same amount of exercise as the most active people do, says lead researcher Paul Banim.
In their study, the researchers observed 25,000 adults who they categorized into four exercise levels: i) The “Inactive,” these are people who hold sedentary jobs and did not indulge in any exercise outside of work; ii) “Moderately Inactive,” these are people with sedentary jobs but they indulge in 30 minutes of daily exercise; iii) “Moderately Active,” these are people with sedentary jobs who engage in one hour of exercise per day and iv) “Active,” these are people who either have sedentary jobs but engage in more than an hour of exercise per day, persons with standing jobs who need a daily exercise of more than 30 minutes per day, or people with physical jobs who need just a little amount of exercise per day.
Based on their observations, the researchers found out that the participants who raised their activity level one step higher lessened their risk of developing gallstones by 17 percent.
The researchers were not able to discover the explanation for this observation, but they believed this was due to the increased level of good cholesterol and the reduction of the overall cholesterol level in the body.
According to Dr. Charles Murray, a British consultant of gastroenterology and a member of the British Society of Gastroenterology, “The study does not … tell us how much exercise is effective in the prevention of gallstones as this would require specific recording of exercise activity. It does, however, demonstrate that as with the prevention of many disease processes, exercise improves your chances of staying healthy.”