Posted on Apr 07, 2018, 2 a.m.
Busy urban schedules often leave little time for regular exercise and activities. Short bursts of exercise has been found to be as equally beneficial as concentrated regular activity if it adds up to the total recommended amount for the week, and it can even reduce the risk of death, as published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Researchers compared one concentrated stretch of exercise with shorter bursts of exercise spread throughout the day. Noting that keeping heart rates up for around 5-10 minutes each session was all that was required to obtain the benefit of exercise.
Data was analyzed from 4,848 adults within the USA who participated in the NHES. Participants were given accelerometers to be worn of one week. Actigraph AM-7164 was used for the participants to track activity throughout the day. The accelerometer would tell the researchers the amount and level of exercise that the participant was getting during the study period.
Researchers measured total minutes spent in vigorous to moderate activity, number of bouts or activity burst which lasted 5 minutes or longer and bouts which were 10 minutes or longer. Researchers followed the participants for 6.6 years and noted 700 deaths during the period. Association between death and regular physical activity was assessed from gathered information.
Results showed that participants who got at least 30 minutes of vigorous to moderate physical activity daily had one third less risk of dying. Participants who were more active with 60-99 minutes per day were half as likely to die during the study. Risk of death was 75% lower for participants who spent at least 100 minutes daily doing vigorous to moderate physical activity. Durations of physical activity could be in a long stretch or in accumulative short bursts throughout the day.
Researches caution that the results should be interpreted with cautions as associations with cause and effect weren’t proven in this study, adding participants may have other lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, drinking, and unhealthy diet which were not taken into account. Risk of death rises with other factors including stress related, accidental deaths, poor health, lack of healthcare, and genetic predispositions.
The American Heart Association recommends moderate physical activity including things such as brisk walks, cycling, tennis, gardening, and aerobics. US Department of Health and Human Services suggest adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, suggesting that at least 10 minutes is required as less will not yield results. This study refutes the 10 minute recommendation, adding that taking the stairs is an excellent activity that may take less than 10 minutes at a time but can be done frequently. Bottom line of the study is that individuals should be working out as frequently as possible to get maximum benefit and reduce the risk of death.
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Journal of the American Heart Association
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