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The benefits of physical activity are widely known to science. However, the relationship between different types of exercise (lighter, more intense, aerobic or not) and improved fitness is not yet fully understood.
To consolidate this knowledge, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (USA) conducted a large study with More than 2000 participants, which is the largest ever to understand this relationship.
Good physical condition greatly affects health and is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Published in European Heart JournalThe study found that vigorous exercise improves fitness more than light physical activity, such as walking 10,000 steps per day (spread out throughout the day).
Intense exercise is 3 times more effective in improving fitness than simply walking And 14 times more effective than reducing daily inactivity (such as getting up to change the TV channel, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.).
The conclusion may seem obvious, but in fact there are a number of details that have been investigated in depth by the research, which was conducted and led by the team of Matthew Nayer, professor of cardiology at Boston University.
For example, can a person who sits at the office all day make up for this time spent sitting by exercising more vigorously after work? How does this person’s health compare to someone who has a job where there is more physical activity but no more exercise than that?
very There has been uncertainty about whether the number of steps taken per day (calculated with pedometers) made a difference in fitness.. The bottom line is that it works for all genders, age groups and health conditions, making sure that staying active all day is good for everyone.
The researchers also found that people with above-average steps per day who exercised intensely for a short period were also at above-average fitness, regardless of how long they spent sitting.
In other words, it seems The damage caused by a sedentary lifestyle throughout the day can be offset with increased physical activity and Drexercise at other times.
The research also inquired about how the body responds to different intensities of physical activity during the start, middle, and climax of exercise.
The researchers already expected to find among the results the fact that more intense exercise promotes improved performance during maximum activity.
But they also found that high-intensity exercise is also more beneficial than brisk walking in improving the body’s ability to initiate and maintain lower levels of activity.
According to Neuer, who led the research, another question was what are the effects of past habits on physical health and a person’s level of well-being in the present.
“We found that participants with initially high activity rates, but low activity levels after about 8 years, had equivalent levels of fitness. This suggests that There may be a ‘memory effect’ of previous physical activities Which is reflected in the current fitness index,” says Nayer in a research article published by Boston University and the World Economic Forum.
The importance of light physical activities
Matthew Nayer points out that while the bottom line is that more intense activities are better for fitness, that doesn’t mean light activities are unnecessary.
Our study confirmed that light activity also improves fitness This is especially important for the elderly Or for people with medical conditions that prevent them from doing more intense activities,” he says in the article.
He adds that if your goal is to improve your physical condition, at least one more moderate or intense exercise is three times more effective than just being someone who walks a lot, for example.
What is intense exercise?
The researchers used definitions identified in other studies as the basis for their recent work. Based on those parameters, Walking 60 to 99 steps per minute is light exerciseWalking between 100 and 129 steps per minute is moderate and over 130 steps per minute is intense.
However, in an article published by Boston University, Nayor points out that the speed may need to be higher in young adults.
The American Fitness Guide recommends between 2:30 hours and 5 hours of moderate exercise per week and between 1:15 hours and 2:30 hours of intense exercise in the same period.
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