A Little Bit of Exercise Goes a Long Way

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You don’t have to go to a gym to live a healthy lifestyle, you can work out while you vacuum. Recent research has concluded that even a mild amount of effort can improve one’s health and add years to one’s life. All you need as a minimum is 2.5 hours a week of being active. Being active can include chores around your house, going for a walk, or anything that gets your blood pumping from exertion. Obviously, gyms and working out more than 2.5 hours a week can greatly improve your health more than just vacuuming.

“I would dispel the notion of having to put out money to be active,” said Dr. Scott Lear, the study lead author and a professor at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences in Canada, in an email. “Our findings indicate that nonrecreational activity — work, housework, active transportation — is just as beneficial in reducing the risk for premature death and heart disease.”

So, yes, even vacuuming your house or walking on your lunch hour for a solid 30 minutes can help avert an early death and chronic disease.

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Exercising a lot Increases Lifespan

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Everybody already knows that exercising is good for your health, this isn’t new. What is new is associating the amount of exercise to telomere length. Telomeres are plentiful in young humans and over one’s lifespan the telomeres start to disappear, which has led researchers to think that more is better for staying biologically young. This most recent study looked at adults between 20 and 84 and concluded that, of the 6,000 people studied, that telomeres were more prevalent in people who exercised 30 to 40 minutes five days a week. This high level of exercise can increase your lifespan by about nine years.

Exercise science professor Larry Tucker found adults with high physical activity levels have telomeres with a biological aging advantage of nine years over those who are sedentary, and a seven-year advantage compared to those who are moderately active. To be highly active, women had to engage in 30 minutes of jogging per day (40 minutes for men), five days a week.

“If you want to see a real difference in slowing your biological aging, it appears that a little exercise won’t cut it,” Tucker said. “You have to work out regularly at high levels.”

Tucker analyzed data from 5,823 adults who participated in the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, one of the few indexes that includes telomere length values for study subjects. The index also includes data for 62 activities participants might have engaged in over a 30-day window, which Tucker analyzed to calculate levels of physical activity.

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A Little Exercise Goes a Long Way

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At the start of the year people tend to make resolutions that they don’t hold – like regularly going to the gym. The good news is that you can break your resolutions and be OK, as long as you do something. Instead of trying to go to the gym and workout just go for a walk. Don’t stress out by setting unattainable goals; stay relaxed and stroll your way to health.

“Weekend warriors” — adults who perform the recommended amount of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity in one or two sessions per week — were found to have a risk of death from all causes about 30 per cent lower than inactive adults.

Researchers in England set out to investigate the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer was associated with physical activity patterns.

“I think it’s important to reassure people that if they are a weekend warrior, if they are only exercising once or twice per week, and it’s of moderate or vigorous intensity, then that’s good enough,” study author Gary O’Donovan, of Loughborough University, England, said in an interview.

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Marathons Aren’t as Impressive as Running a 5K

Running a marathon is seen as the big goal for committed runners – and it’s quite the triumph since running for so far and long is a big challenge no matter how healthy one is. I’ve never run a marathon and I just found out that there’s no reason to (phew!). It turns out that after looking at a lot of studies on health and running that just committing to a 5K run is enough.

5K seems to be the optimal distance for the vast majority of people given the fact that it’s long enough to be a challenge but not so long it can endanger one’s health.

So by focusing on the 5K, you’re optimizing health benefits and minimizing injuries, and if you’re deliberate about your training, you can maximize your fitness gains too. Training seriously for the 5K will get you close to your biological potential for aerobic fitness, Joyner said. “Seriously is the key though,” he said. The secret is high-intensity interval training, or HIIT — short periods of very hard efforts interspersed with easier recovery bouts. Studies show that these high intensity workouts produce greater improvements in VO2 max than the kind of long, slow workouts emphasized in many marathon training plans.1 Two-time U.S. 5,000-meter champion Lauren Fleshman has published a list of a dozen 5K-friendly HIIT workoutsat Strava, most of which require no track, just a stopwatch.

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Don’t Exercise To Lose Weight


There are many people who are struggling with their weight, in fact there are now more obese people than underweight people. The good news is that there are fewer malnourished people now than in previous years. In the developed world obesity rates are high because of the surplus of calories available to people.

Now people are wondering how they can stay fit and thin with such plentiful (and sugar filled) food options. The key isn’t exercise, it’s reducing your caloric intake. If weight loss is the goal then just eat less. It turns out that exercising is not a good way to decrease your mass. However, if being healthy is your goal then eat the right amount, eat a diversity of nutritious food, and exercise to avoid non-diet based problems.

Cochrane Review of the best-available research found that, while exercise led to only modest weight loss, study participants who exercised more (even without changing their diets) saw a range of health benefits, including reducing their blood pressure and triglycerides in their blood. Exercise reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart attack.

number of other studies have also shown that people who exercise are at a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment from Alzheimer’s and dementia. They also score higher on cognitive ability tests — among many, many other benefits.

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