When it comes to exercise, it’s pretty safe to say you can’t have too much of a good thing. The more we get moving, the better we’ll feel. In fact, every bit of physical movement we do is beneficial to our cardiovascular health. Boosting our exercise routines is up there with the best health advice there is, a University of Oxford study found.
Over 90,000 volunteers in the United Kingdom agreed to wear an accelerometer on their wrists that recorded their movements seven days a week over a 5-year period. It was the largest study ever conducted that researched the relationship of exercise and cardiovascular health while using a device measuring physical activity.
The results from this massive accumulation of data were unequivocal: Physical exercise, for both men and women, was key to maintaining heart health — and the more the better. Those people who exercised the least were the folks most often diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) and other heart conditions.
Simple changes to your day can make exercising almost automatic — anything from walking your dog longer, to cleaning the house or digging in the garden more vigorously, or taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
The findings contradict another large study that found moderate physical activity was associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease, but concluded that more exercise offered no further reduction of risk. “This debunks the myth that there is a peak beyond which you should not do more exercise. There’s no limit to what you can do in terms of physical activity,” researcher, Rema Ramakrishnan, a biostatistician and epidemiologist at University of Oxford, said in a statement.
Let’s face it, not everyone has limitless time to devote to exercise, or the ability to hike mountains or pump iron. So is there a reasonable rule of thumb when it comes to physical activity? The World Health Organization suggests adults spend at least 150 minutes or 2.5 hours a week engaged in moderate to strenuous physical activity.
Simple changes to your day can make exercising almost automatic — anything from walking your dog longer, to cleaning the house or digging in the garden more vigorously, taking the stairs instead of an elevator, parking further away from the supermarket, dancing to TikTok routines or doing 5 to 10 minutes of jumping jacks. Of course, you can always do more. And as the latest research shows, for your heart’s sake, you probably should.
The study is published in PLOS Medicine.