Washington: If one wishes to diminish the risk to heart - a moderate amount of exercise is adequate rather than undertaking heavy and intense exercise. This was revealed by a study published in journal CHEST.
A randomized clinical trial was conducted and researchers found that moderate exercise regimen, such as brisk walking of say 12 miles provided significant improvements in fitness levels and at the same time reduced the risks of developing cardiovascular disease.
Lead researcher Brian Duscha said: "Our data suggest that if you walk briskly for 12 miles per week you will significantly increase your cardiovascular fitness levels compared to baseline. If you increase either your mileage or intensity, by going up an incline or jogging, you will achieve even greater gains."
The researchers studied 133 overweight sedentary men and women in whom the blood lipid levels were creeping up and was high enough to put their health at risk. The subjects were randomized into one of four groups:
Low amount/moderate intensity (equivalent of 12 miles of walking per week),
Low amount/vigorous intensity (12 miles of jogging per week)
Or high amount/vigorous intensity (20 miles of jogging per week).
The trail lasted for 6 to 8 months and the exercise was carried out on treadmills. As the trial was designed solely to better understand the role of exercise on health the participants were told to not change their diet habits. The For their analysis, the team compared two measurements of fitness
"The classic exercise regimen has a component of intensity up to 80 percent of someone's maximum for health benefits. Our study demonstrates that you can exercise at an intensity much less than that and still achieve fitness benefits," said lead author Brian D. Duscha, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina. "People find exercise 'hard' and few people want to exercise at an intensity higher than they have to. Walking briskly for 12 miles a week per week is realistic and does not require anyone to incorporate a hardcore training regimen. Increasing your mileage or intensity will give you even greater health benefits."
"A second very important message is that subjects enjoyed fitness benefits in the absence of weight loss. Many people exercise with the purpose of losing weight. When they do not lose weight, they do not think the exercise is benefiting them and they stop exercising," said Duscha. "The truth is, you can improve your cardiovascular fitness and reduce your risk for heart disease by exercising without losing weight. Even if individuals do not lose weight, it is likely that they will lose body fat and increase lean muscle mass while reducing other risk factors."
One should take note that when beginning an exercise regimen it is recommended that one starts slow. If there is a medical problem, consulting a physician before starting an exercise program is also recommended. Whatever exercise is undertaken it should be enjoyed so that it can be continued. Most people start with a vigorous regimen and soon loose motivation.
"Regular exercise is an important part of a well-balanced lifestyle," said Paul A. Kvale, MD, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians. "Physicians and other health-care providers should encourage their patients to engage in regular exercise in order to obtain pulmonary and cardiovascular benefits."