Here’s another reason exercise is so important, especially for men: Physical activity among black men in their 20s and 30s may contribute to lowering their risk of prostate cancer later in their lives.

Some 160,000 white men and 3,600 black men were polled in 1996 about their exercise habits, including the number of hours they spent weekly on moderate to vigorous activity. Over the next seven years, more than 350 black men and 9,600 white males were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Although exercise was not a factor among white males, the same wasn’t true for black men. In fact, blacks who spent at least four hours exercising during their 20s were less prone to suffer from prostate cancer by 35 percent. And the percentages among black males who exercised more than seven hours weekly were linked to a 41 percent drop.

These falling numbers are the key statistics, considering the incidence of prostate cancer among black men is as much as 50 percent higher and the mortality rate associated with this disease is double that of white males.