The Impact Of Doubling Exercise

We have always been told that “exercise” is beneficial for our health.  The “recommended” amount of exercise, as per the American Heart Association, is 150 minutes per week of “moderate” intensity exercise or 75 minutes a week or 75 minutes a week of “vigorous aerobic exercise” of a combination of both.

First, let’s define what constitutes “moderate” vs. “vigorous” exercise:  Moderate activity is defined as walking, lower-intensity exercise, weightlifting and calisthenics.  Vigorous activity included jogging, running, swimming, bicycling and other aerobic exercises.

The results of a 30 year study were releases recently that showed that “upping” the exercise had a significant impact on death rates.  The study out of Harvard University and published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation looked at 100,000 people and found that those people that exercise 2-4X more than the “recommended” exercise time had a greater than 30% less chance of having a sudden death compared to those people that did the “recommended” amount of exercise weekly.

Turning from the hallowed halls of Harvard University to the “School Of Hard Knocks” in Burke, Virginia:  When we query patients about “exercise”, sometimes we will hear answers such as:  “I take the stairs at work” or “my app says I am taking 10,000 steps a day” or “I garden on the weekends”.   While we encourage all sorts of exertion, true “exercise” is when we get our heat rates up, we sweat and our breathing rates increase.

For many, either work/family obligations, orthopedic problems and/or other medical conditions precludes “moderate” or “vigorous” exercise.  However, if you are able both time wise and physically to exercise, clearly this will be very beneficial to your health.

Exercise helps your weight control efforts and has a broader impact on overall health.  The Harvard Study recently released certainly brings forth the concept that “The more exercise the better”.

Get out there and exercise!  Maybe we should all be inspired by Forrest Gump to just keep running.