February 14, 2008

The 30-Minute Solution

Add another finding to the growing list of studies telling us how important exercise is in reducing the impact of aging.

A recent Veterans Affairs study shows just how little one needs to do to reap the health benefits of exercise.

"Our findings show that the risk of death is cut in half with an exercise capacity that can easily be achieved by a brisk walk of about 30 minutes per session 5-6 days per week ... Certainly, one does not need to be a marathon runner," said Peter Kokkinos, Ph.D., lead author of the study and director of the Exercise Testing and Research Lab in the cardiology department at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C..

The 15,660 men in the study were divided into four groups based on their fitness level, as determined by their performance on a treadmill test. The study found that "highly fit" men had half the risk of death compared to "low fit" men. Men who achieved "very highly fit" levels had a 70 percent lower risk of death compared to those in the "low fit" category.

If a 30 minute session is too much for you, Kokkinos says, do 10 -15 minutes in the morning and another 10 - 15 minutes in the evening. "The benefits will be similar if the exercise volume accumulated is similar."

The study can be found in the January 23rd issue of the American Heart Association journal, Circulation.
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