Compared with inactive adults, people who get any amount of exercise
may live longer, according to the study of middle-aged adults in the
UK and Scotland.
With some activity, but less than the minimum weekly recommended 150
minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense workouts,
people were 34 percent less likely to die during the study period
compared to people who didn’t exercise at all.
Weekend warriors who crammed the minimum amount of weekly exercise
into one or two workouts were 30 percent less likely to die during
“The weekend warriors in our study undertook a large proportion of
vigorous-intensity exercise, and quality may be more important than
quantity,” said lead study author Gary O’Donovan of Loughborough
University in the UK.
“Vigorous-intensity exercise improves aerobic fitness more than the
same amount of moderate-intensity exercise,” O’Donovan added by
email. “And, two bouts of vigorous-intensity exercise per week are
sufficient to maintain aerobic fitness.”
Plenty of research has shown the benefits of physical activity, and
the potential health hazards of an extremely sedentary lifestyle.
O’Donovan and colleagues designed the current study to see how
waiting for the weekends to exercise might influence longevity.
For the current study, researchers analyzed survey data collected on
63,591 people from 1994 to 2012 to see how different exercise
patterns influence the risk of death from all causes, heart disease
Participants were 59 years old on average, and they were typically
followed for almost nine years.
During the study period, there were 8,802 deaths from all causes,
2,780 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 2,526 from cancer.
Regular exercisers who got several workouts a week and got the
minimum recommended amount of activity, were 35 percent less likely
to die during the study period than people who got no exercise at
all, researches report n JAMA Internal Medicine.
Compared with inactive people, participants who got a little
exercise were 37 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular causes
during the study, weekend warriors were 40 percent less likely to
die, and routine exercisers were 41 percent less likely to die.
For cancer, the odds of dying were 14 percent lower among slightly
active people, 18 percent lower for weekend warriors, and 21 percent
lower for routine exercisers.
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The study is observational and doesn’t prove exercise reduces the
odds of death or that a weekend workout routine can cause fewer
deaths than other patterns of exercise, the authors note. Exercise
habits were also self-reported, and most participants were white,
which may limit how much the results would apply to the general
Current exercise recommendations suggest spreading activity
throughout the week because this can help with health outcomes like
blood pressure, mood, and the ability to process sugars, noted
Hannah Arem, a public health researcher at George Washington
University and author of an accompanying editorial.
“The ideal exercise routine will depend on the individual’s health
status and goals,” Arem said by email.
Meeting the minimum recommended amount of weekly exercise might mean
walking a 20-minute mile each day, taking a leisurely 45-minute bike
ride twice a week, swimming at a moderate pace for 35 minutes twice
a week, or running a 10-minute mile for 45 minutes over the course
of a week, Arem added.
“These guidelines focus on total amount of activity after accounting
for intensity, rather than specifying prescriptions for when
exercise should be performed,” Arem said. “For people who have to
condense exercise into 1-2 sessions per week but meet the guideline
minimum, they will still reap a big health benefit – a 30 percent
lower risk of death compared to those who do not exercise.”
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2iWHf1C JAMA Internal Medicine, online January
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