If you are one of the millions of Americans who strive to achieve 30 minutes daily of moderately intense exercise, because, well, it’s what the experts recommend—get ready for disappointment.
According to new research published in the journal Circulation, 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise might not be enough.
For the analysis, researchers reviewed 12 studies that involved 370,460 men and women with different levels of physical activity. Over an average follow-up time of 15 years, 20,203 participants experienced incidences of heart failure. Each participant reported their daily activities and allowed the researchers to estimate how much exercise they were doing.
The team discovered that participants who followed the 30-minutes-a-day guideline suggested by the American Heart Association only experienced modest reductions in heart failure risk, compared to participants who didn’t exercise at all.
Participants who exercised twice or four times as much saw a substantial risk reduction of heart failure by 20% and 35%.
These findings challenge guidelines that suggest that 30 minutes of exercise a day is the “magic” number for exercise. Researchers suggest that elevated levels of physical activity could be linked to a lower risk of heart failure, in what they dub as being “dose dependent.”
Jarett D. Berry, lead author of the study and an associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, suggests that the study’s results show that physicians and health policy-makers should make stronger recommendations for people to perform larger amounts of physical activity to prevent heart failure.
The American Heart Association guidelines suggest that middle-aged adults participate in at least two hours and 30 minutes of exercise each week. But Berry suggests that walking 30 minutes a day, for example, may not be enough for a middle-aged individual who suffers from hypertension, which increases the risk of heart failure.
Heart failure affects more than 5.1 million adults in the U.S. and results in approximately $30.0 billion a year in healthcare costs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that one minute of vigorous activity—a form of physical activity that makes you breathe hard and that increases the heart rate—accounts for two minutes of moderate activity. Therefore, increasing the intensity of exercise, rather than the amount of time spent exercising, could be beneficial in reducing the risk of heart failure. Examples include swimming laps, jogging or running, playing basketball, or riding a bike fast or up hills.
Moderately intense exercise may include water aerobics, walking fast, or riding a bike on level ground.
Source for Today’s Article:
Nobles, W.P. and Cha, A.E., “New study says 30 minutes of exercise a day is not enough. You should double or quadruple that,” Washington Post web site, October 7, 2015; https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/10/06/new-study-for-optimal-heart-health-americans-should-double-or-even-quadruple-the-amount-of-exercising-theyre-doing/.