Any exercise is better than no exercise.
That’s the conclusion of new research, which found that people who work out once or twice a week lower their risk of dying over the next decade nearly as much as people who exercise more often.
And the research found that people who get less exercise than recommended have less risk of dying than those who don’t work out at all.
“If someone is completely inactive, the best thing they can do is even getting out and taking a walk,” Hannah Arem, a health researcher at George Washington University, who was not involved in the study, told The Associated Press. For people who think they don’t have enough time for small amounts of exercise to matter, the results are “encouraging or perhaps motivating,” she said.
At Signature Medical Group, our sports medicine experts can advise you on a proper workout routine. We offer orthopedic services to help athletes at all levels perform at their highest potential.
Here are some facts to know about exercise:
HOW MUCH DO WE NEED?
U.S. and global guidelines call for 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week, ideally spread out so you get some on most days. That’s based on many previous studies suggesting many benefits beyond the risk of premature death that this study measured.
HOW THE STUDY WAS DONE
Researchers at Loughborough University in England used surveys by trained interviewers on nearly 64,000 adults in England and Scotland from 1994 to 2008. By last year, 8,802 had died.
Participants were grouped according to how much exercise they said they got the preceding month:
- Inactive (no leisure time exercise), 63 percent.
- Regular exercisers (meet the guidelines), 11 percent.
- Weekend warriors (get the recommended weekly amount but in one or two sessions), 4 percent.
- Insufficiently active (get less than the recommended weekly amount), 22 percent.
The risk of dying was about 30 percent lower in weekend warriors and insufficient exercisers versus those who were inactive. Regular exercisers lowered their risk a little more, by 35 percent.
Any amount of activity helped cut the risk of dying of heart disease by about 40 percent, compared to being totally inactive.
One caveat is that more than 90 percent of the participants were white, so results may differ in other racial or ethnic groups. Exercise also was only assessed at the start of the study and could have changed over time.
DOES THIS MEAN THE OLD EXERCISE GUIDELINES ARE BUNK?
No, independent health experts say. Exercise has many other benefits such as helping to prevent dementia, depression, high blood pressure, unhealthy sleep patterns and diabetes. Some of these effects are short-lived, so exercising more often better helps to prevent these conditions.
At Signature, our sports medicine experts are happy to work with adults and young athletes to maximize their performance. And we’ll even help you start an exercise routine. Call today to make an appointment with us and we’ll keep you on the path toward good health.