Wednesday Wisdom. How Much Exercise Do Your Really Need for better Health?

The more you exercise the better; but even mild exercise like walking can benefit our cardiovascular health a large new study found.

If you want a healthy heart, the more you exercise, the better

According to an encouraging new study from the UK Bio bank people who often exercise and stay active are much less likely to develop heart disease than people who rarely move – even if that exercise consists of a few minutes a day of jogging or multiple hours of walking a week.

Any amount of exercise is good for a stellar heart

The large-scale study, which relied on objective data about exercise from more than 90,000 adults showed that almost any amount of physical activity is good for cardiovascular health, with no apparent upper limit to the benefits.

The more exercise the better

Study among the research adults found that the greater amounts of physical activity aligned closely with less risk of heart disease.

Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Jeremy Morris, a British epidemiologist found that British bus conductors who spent their days strolling aisles and climbing steps on the double-decker vehicles were about half as likely to have a heart attack as the buse drivers who sat all day.

Since then, countless epidemiological studies have found similar links between physical activity and cardiovascular health. In most studies greater amounts of physical activity aligned closely with less risk of heart disease.

In other words, people who moved more were people with sound hearts and arteries.

These were the questions that were answered in the data

These were the questions that interested Dr. Terence Dwyer, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Oxford in England and his colleagues who had studied for years the correlation of lifestyle and disease risk . They turned to the U.K. Biobank for answers.

Can we work out too much for the sake of our hearts?
Do men and women get the same cardiovascular-disease risk reductions from the same amounts of physical activity?
How much do we actually need to move during the day?

The U.K. Biobank a database of real people living their normal lives

The U.K. Biobank is a large database of health and lifestyle information about more than 500,000 adult men and women in the United Kingdom. Beginning in 2006 these volunteers provided blood, urine and saliva samples for genetic and medical testing, answered lengthy questionnaires about their lives and completed full health and medical screenings. More than 100,000 of them also agreed to wear activity trackers for a week, to carefully measure how much they moved.

How the data was analyzed for answers

Dr. Dwyer and his colleagues analyzed data from 90,000 of the men and women who had worn the trackers, skipping anyone with a known history of heart disease when they joined the study.

They divided them into four groups, depending on how many minutes in total they moved every week, and how much of this activity was moderate such as walking or relatively vigorous like jogging. This info was verified by their trackers.

Finally, the researchers gathered data from hospitals and death records about who among the 90,000 volunteers developed heart disease in the years after joining the study, and began crosschecking their diagnoses against their activity habits.

To no one’s surprise people who didn’t exercise or were least active were twice as likely to have heart disease

They found from the database that people in the least-active group who rarely walked around or exercised were more than twice as likely to have heart disease.

Just moving from the least-active group to the not-quite-as-inactive group dropped the risk of heart disease by almost 30 percent, even when the researchers controlled for body composition, smoking, socioeconomic status and other factors.

The researchers also found no upper limit to benefits of exercise.

The researchers also found no upper limit to the benefits of exercise. Meaning there is no downside to cardio health to exercising too much.

“The men and women who moved the most which was walking as much as 1,100 minutes a week or more than two hours a day (a total that included both their actual exercise and everyday activities like grocery shopping or doing housework), while also working out intensely for 50 minutes or more a week, enjoyed the greatest risk reductions with both men and women showing equal benefits.” Dr. Dwyer

“The results provide even stronger evidence that physical activity, including vigorous physical activity is important for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The benefits were about double what had been found with most self-report studies.” Dr. Dwyer professor at Oxford University

Walk, garden, climb up and down your steps, do whatever it takes to get your daily dose of heart healthy exercise.
Happy healthy movement.

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