Good news for the lazy and the busy: You might need less exercise than you think to improve your health.
Two separate studies recently published by two American Medical Association journals support the theory that less is more.
Cardiologist and internist Dr. Gregory Curfman, who serves as editor-in-chief of Harvard Health Publications, explains in a Harvard Health Blog post:
Taken together, these two new studies further underscore a single conclusion: You don’t have to be a triathlete to achieve health benefits from physical activity.
The first study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, defines what it calls the “lowest effective dose” of exercise.
According to Curfman:
Drs. (Thijs) Eijsvogels and (Paul) Thompson reviewed several published studies and concluded that as little as 15 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise — and only 8 minutes a day of vigorous-intensity exercise — reduced the risk of death. They referred to this as the “lowest effective dose.” This means that even a small amount of exercise may have substantial health benefits compared with being sedentary, and even people who are “too busy to exercise” can find this amount of time.
Researchers found that, while additional exercise brings additional benefits, the minimum “dose” was enough to decrease a person’s risk of death.
The second study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found young adults who are physically fit as measured by their treadmill endurance have a lower risk of developing heart and blood vessel disease.
Curfman suggests that people who need to exercise more can start by counting their daily steps with a device like a fitness tracker or with a free mobile app.
There are even apps that pay you to exercise.
For more tips, check out “13 Fitness Hacks That Can Simplify Your Workouts.”
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