The debate between the relative benefits of moderate vs.
vigorous exercise is ongoing. Federal guidelines encourage
a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most
days of the week, while earlier guidelines suggested vigorous
exercise for at least 20 minutes three or more times per week.
A study in The New England Journal of Medicine compared
the incidence of heart attacks and strokes in approximately
75,000 women ages 50-79, based on total time spent doing any
physical activity; walking; vigorously exercising; and sitting.
Activity was determined by questionnaires, and classified
as mild, moderate or vigorous.
more physical activity completed by the women, the less likely
they were to suffer from heart attack or stroke over the next
six years, regardless of race, weight or age. Women who walked
or performed vigorous exercise 2.5 hours or more per week
reduced their total risk for cardiovascular conditions by
approximately 30%. Brisker walking pace and less time spent
sitting daily reduced the risk even more.
It all adds up: The more time you spend being active - a
little here, a little there - the healthier you will be. Ideally,
you should try to complete aerobic workouts at a moderate
to vigorous pace, but don't give up altogether if you can't
accomplish this. Simply be as active as you can, as often
as you can.
Manson JE, Greenland P, et al. Walking compared with vigorous
exercise for the prevention of cardiovascular events in women.
The New England Journal of Medicine 2002:347(10), pp.
Other studies on sports and fitness can be found at http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/sports.