Regular physical activity does more than just keep you alive.
Greater fitness means more energy, a clearer mind, and a lower risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
And as I’m always telling you, doing something is always better than doing nothing at all. But then… if you’re able to do MORE over time, you should.
That’s because, if you really want to improve your fitness, you need to think beyond simple step counts. You must also consider your exercise levels and sedentary time…
Upping the ante
A team of Boston researchers looked at data from nearly 2,000 subjects from the Framingham Heart Study. All participants received a battery of cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET) to measure physical fitness. They also wore accelerometers for a full week around the time of the exercise tests, as well as eight years earlier. Then, the researchers compared all data.
The results were right in line with what you might expect: Actual workouts—which in this case meant moderate to vigorous physical activity—were three times as efficient at improving fitness than simply taking more steps.
Meanwhile, workouts were also 14 times more efficient than simply reducing your sitting time. (Remember, sitting disease is real, and a sedentary lifestyle kills—as I report in the June 2021 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter [“One in every 14 deaths is attributed to this common ‘disease’”]).
But the good news is, subjects who spent more time exercising and walking were able to partly offset the negative impact of sitting, at least in terms of fitness.
You have to start somewhere
This was the largest study of its kind to date. And its conclusions couldn’t be simpler.
If you really want to boost your physical fitness, you HAVE to get up off the couch, move more… and make sure that you regularly break a sweat while doing it.
So to that end, let’s go over some basics: High-intensity exercise is any activity that brings you to 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. The “talk test” is a good way to tell where you’re at—with vigorous activity, you shouldn’t be able to say more than a few words without taking a breath.
Medium-intensity exercise is defined as 60 to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate. This means you would be able to carry on a conversation, but you’re breathing hard enough that you couldn’t sing a song.
In other words, a medium-intensity workout is one that almost everyone can manage. And it’s the type of workout I often ask my patients to strive for.
But once again, doing something is always better than doing nothing at all. And everyone has to start somewhere.
So: Get up, start… and continue. It’s as simple—and important—as that!
“Moderate-vigorous physical activity is the most efficient at improving fitness: Physical fitness is a powerful predictor of health outcomes.” Science Daily, 08/27/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/08/210827133756.htm)