Among people in the study with the highest genetic risk for cardiovascular disease, those whose cardiovascular systems were the most fit were 49 percent less likely to develop heart disease.
The findings underscore one of the biggest barriers to getting people to use more active forms of transportation: the perceived time commitment.
The study suggests that it’s the total volume of physical activity, not necessarily the length of each exercise session, that matters — at least for older men.
“Walking in groups tended to increase life satisfaction and may also improve social connectedness,” said Catherine Meads, the study’s lead author.
“There is no magic bullet,” said Mary Butler, one of the authors of the review and co-director of the Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center.
“If you have Parkinson’s disease and you want to delay the progression of your symptoms, you should exercise three times a week with your heart rate between 80 to 85 percent maximum. It’s that simple,” said Daniel Corcos, the study’s senior author.
The study does include a bit of encouraging news. It found that older people engaged in regular exercise tend to score better on cognitive tests than their non-exercising peers.
Activity inequality is the difference in each country between people who walk a lot and those who walk very little. A new study found this type of inequality to be a powerful predictor of obesity.
Women are walking more than they were in the past, but for men, that trend has stalled in recent years. Walking was least prevalent among blacks and people with less than a college education.
“Exercise of between 45 and 60 [minutes] in duration, of moderate or vigorous intensity and of any frequency or length is beneficial to cognitive function,” researchers said.
You apparently don’t have to break a sweat on the stairs to get the effect. Doing the activity at a low-to-moderate pace seemed to be enough to re-energize people, the study reports.
It is now widely acknowledged that the “misguided recommendations” of the past have been “a major contributor to the worldwide obesity epidemic,” three authors in JAMA say.
Although men may — as a group — sweat more than women, they do so because they are typically larger than women.
Between 2004 and 2014, the number of miles driven by Americans fell by an average of almost 600 miles per person per year, according to government statistics.
The bottom line: no more excuses. It appears that any exercise — even if it’s only on the weekends — is better than none.
The findings are provocative, particularly as they support a growing field of research that suggests sedentary behavior is — on its own — a risk factor for disease.
As a commentary that accompanies the study notes, “Prescribing exercise may be just as important as prescribing medications — perhaps even more important in some cases.”
After two years, people in the self-monitoring “arm” of the study had sustained a greater weight loss, on average, than those using fitness trackers.
Vacuuming, gardening and other daily physical activities can help meet exercise goals, researchers stress.
The study’s findings offers both encouraging and disappointing news to people whose jobs require long hours of sitting.