Current physical activity guidelines recommend moderate intensity exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week for a total of 150 minutes/week, or vigorous exercise for 75 minutes per week, spread out over at least 3 sessions per week. In a report published in January 2017, researchers evaluated more than 63,000 men and women over age 40, inquiring about their moderate to vigorous physical activity.1 The research participants were classified into four groups:
- individuals who did no moderate or vigorous physical activity
- those who met the guidelines of 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity or 75 minutes/week of vigorous intensity divided over at least 3 sessions weekly
- those who met the total number of minutes per week but did so within 1-2 sessions/week
- and those who did some moderate to vigorous exercise but less than the guidelines
The results demonstrated that all the active groups compared with those having no moderate to vigorous activity, had substantial reductions in cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. Those individuals who met the guidelines and exercised at least 3 sessions per week had a 35% reduction in all-cause mortality. All three active groups had an approximately 40% reduction in cardiovascular mortality compared with those who did not report any moderate to vigorous activity.
This latest study adds to a burgeoning amount of research demonstrating the impressive health benefits of exercise. These results once again remind us as clinicians that we should be consistently talking about exercise with our patients to get them moving and keep them moving.
Dr. Tori Hudson directs the curriculum for post-graduate training in women's health at the Institute of Women's Health and Integrative Medicine, and is the director of product research and education for VITANICA. For more information on Dr. Hudson visit http://drtorihudson.com/.
- O’Donovan G, Lee I, Hamer M, Stamatakis E. Association of weekend warrior and other leisure time physical activity patterns with risks for all cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2017; Jan 9.