Posted on Nov 15, 2022, 8 p.m.
According to a study recently published in the European Heart Journal, taking a brisk walk for seven minutes every day rather than a leisurely fourteen-minute stroll is enough to cut the risk of developing heart disease. The researchers suggest that doing more exercise doesn’t really reduce your risk more from cardiovascular conditions unless you pick up the pace to at least moderate or vigorous levels of intensity.
Additionally, the researchers note that other easy-paced activities such as doing laundry or washing the car which has counted as exercise in other research are also not enough to prevent heart conditions, but brisk 75-minute walks or runs every week are enough to help keep heart conditions staved off.
According to the researchers when people did more exercise overall but the amount of moderate to vigorous exercise stayed the same there was very little improvement observed in heart health. For example, when activity levels were doubled there was no significant boost to heart health observed when the amount of moderate to vigorous activity levels remained at 10%.
However, if that proportion of moderate to vigorous activity rose by 20% the risk of disease decreased by 23%, and when it increased by 40% the risk of heart disease decreased by 40%. The rate of heart disease was 14% lower when moderate to vigorous activity accounted for 20% rather than 10% of overall physical activity, even in those who did not exercise very much, and this is the equivalent of turning a 14-minute stroll into a brisk 7-minute walk. Doing more vigorous activity appears to do more for the heart as those who did the most overall exercise and did more tough exercise as a proportion of that were found to have had the lowest risk of developing heart disease.
For this study researchers from the Universities of Leicester and Cambridge analyzed data from 88,412 middle-aged participants who wore wrist accelerometers and were enrolled in the UK Biobank to investigate the association between physical activity volume and intensity and the incidence of cardiovascular disease in participants who were free from heart disease a wore the activity trackers on their dominant wrist while they took part in the study. Additionally, data was collected on the total amount of activity they did, and the percentage of that volume that was achieved through moderate to vigorous intensity activity. The number of cardiovascular events was then recorded for the participants who were followed on average for 6.8 years.
Study senior author Professor Tom Yates from the University of Leicester said, “Our analysis of data from UK Biobank confirms that increasing the total amount of physical activity can lower the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, but we also found that achieving the same overall amount of physical activity through higher intensity activity has a substantial additional benefit.”
“Our findings support simple behavior-change messages that ‘every move counts’ to encourage people to increase their overall physical activity, and if possible to do so by incorporating more moderately intense activities. This could be as simple as converting a leisurely stroll into a brisk walk, but a variety of approaches should encourage and help individuals to find whatever is most practical or enjoyable for them.”
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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