How much exercise do I need?

For decades experts have been saying that a half an hour of exercise three times a week was enough to promote and ensure good health, especially with regard to the cardiovascular system. However, the results of one study have put this formerly axiomatic advice to the test.

Though the study is not a new one, the results were published by the Institute of Medicine in September 2002, the recommendations were so astonishing and so incongruous with everything we have been told about suggested exercise routines that they are still being talking about and debated today.

So, what were the results? Well, the study found that the average person would greatly benefit and in fact required at least an hour of vigorous exercise each and every day! How vigorous? Well, they weren't talking about a stroll in the park. They suggested exercises that actually get the heart pumping and the sweat dripping. The most popular exercises they endorsed include running, jogging, aerobics, bicycling, swimming and rowing, just to name a few.

Why an hour?

The scientists and researchers who conducted this study did their homework. They crunched all the numbers and examined the data. They also took a look at contemporary society with its increasingly sedentary lifestyle that includes working and home live. So, while thirty minutes three times a week may have once been satisfactory for people who had more active home and work lives, it simply does not cut them mustard today. The truth is that people are getting fatter and fatter even though a lot of them exercise. And the reason, these researchers claim, is that Americans aren't working out enough, they aren't burning enough calories.

Scientists also maintain that if the hour a day exercise routine is not adhered to, the majority of Americans will continue to gain weight for the foreseeable future. This means greater rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

So, what's the big deal?

Well, the fact is that most people don't have the time or the energy to exercise vigorously for an hour each and every day. In all honestly, most folks have a hard enough time working out for half an hour three times a week. Now, suddenly, they want people to exercise four times as much?

The quandary here for doctors and scientists who are truly worried about the nation's collective waistband is that this advice is so extreme that it runs the risk of being jokingly dismissed by everyone outside of the scientific community, which of course may hurt their credibility and force the public to take whatever they say in the future with a grain of sand.

The advice may also encourage some people to prematurely give up on their workout routines now that the bar has been set so incredibly high. In fact, many doctors believe that releasing this information, even if it is correct, may have been irresponsible. The truth is that few people, even health conscious ones get seven hours of cardiovascular exercise a week….not unless that run marathons in their spare time.

So, how much is enough?

The honest answer is that it really does depend on the person. People who are in good shape and watch what they eat and have genetically superior builds may be just fine with a half an hour of exercise three times a week. While others who are overweight and have poor diets may need significantly more, especially if they have a history of heart disease. For these unfortunate souls, scientist could have recommended two hours of exercise a day and they would not have been off base.

But for most people, it is an accepted fact that as little as 30 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact, much larger and more esteemed studies have followed thousands of participants and they have concluded that even doing a low impact exercise like walking for twenty minutes a day can reduce cardiovascular risk by nearly a third.

In the end, the amount of exercise you need does depend upon your physical condition and your medical history. If you are in average to good shape, twenty minutes a day or as little as thirty minutes three times a week should suffice. However, if you are in poor shape and have a history of heart disease, you really should shoot for that hour a day goal. Even if you don't quite make it, chances are you will see significant improvements in your overall health after only a few months.

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1 Comment(s)

I had tried to do an half an hour exercise and it really works
By: sania khanna 9 years ago

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