Posted on Nov 06, 2012, 6 a.m.
A regular exercise program that focuses on intensity of activity, rather than duration, may significantly reduce the risk of markers implicated in diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Characterized by central obesity, hypertension, and adverse glucose and insulin metabolism, Metabolic Syndrome is a condition associated with increased risk of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Eva Prescott, from Bispebjerg University (Denmark), and colleagues conducted a study that included both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, using data from the Copenhagen City Heart Study. For the cross-sectional analysis, the researchers included 10,135 subjects evaluated between 1991 and 1994, while the longitudinal analysis included 3,992 subjects seen between 2001 and 2003. The team observed that brisk walking halved the risk that metabolic syndrome would develop over a 10-year period. Leisurely walking, even for more than an hour each day, had no preventive effects. In the longitudinal analysis, the team found that both brisk walking and jogging were associated with an adjusted lower risk for developing metabolic syndrome, as was an overall high level of physical activity. Citing the factor that higher intensity exercise boosts cardiorespiratory fitness, the study authors conclude that: “Our results confirm the role of physical activity in reducing [metabolic syndrome] risk and suggest that intensity more than volume of physical activity is important.”
Adam Hoegsbro Laursen, Ole P Kristiansen, Jacob Louis Marott, Peter Schnohr, Eva Prescott. “Intensity versus duration of physical activity: implications for the metabolic syndrome. A prospective cohort study.” BMJ Open 2012;2:5 e001711.