It’s been a recommendation for years: Exercise 30 minutes a day to stay healthy.
Recent research published in the journal Circulation reveals that isn’t actually enough, however–something sure to make many Americans angry.
The results, which were made public earlier this month, reveal that people who exercised for 30 minutes a day modestly reduced their heart failure risk compared to those who did not exercise at all.
But those who exercised twice to four times as long had reduced their heart failure risk the most, by as much as 35 percent.
Previously, experts thoughts 30 minutes of exercise per day was the best way to maximize its heart benefits.
But clearly that isn’t the case.
“The study shows that physicians and health policymakers should consider making stronger recommendations for greater amounts of physical activity to prevent heart failure,” says Jarett D. Berry, senior author of the study and an associate professor from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. “Heart failure is a big public health concern and in contrast to the dramatic reduction in coronary disease that we’ve seen in the population, the incidence of heart failure remains relatively unchanged.”
For the study, researchers performed a meta-analysis, reviewing 12 previous studies which examined the exercise habits of 370,460 men and women. Containing 15 years of data, all of the participants self-reported how long they exercised.
To compare, researchers also looked at their health history, determining how many of them eventually developed heart problems later in life, such as heart failure.
The good news? Any length of exercise helped reduce the risk of heart failure. Those who exercised for at least 30 minutes faced a lower risk overall, though it wasn’t statistically significant.
But the biggest benefits came from those who exercised for at least twice as long, or around an hour a day. They reduced their heart failure risk by 20 percent.
Those who exercised for four times as long, or 2 hours per day, reduced their risk by 35 percent.
Clearly what pays off here is exercising longer–that 30-minute-a-day recommend just isn’t cutting it.
“There is an inverse, dose-response relationship between PA [physical activity] and HF [heart failure] risk,” write researchers in Circulation. “Doses of PA [physical activity] in excess of the guideline recommended minimum PA [physical activity] levels may be required for more substantial reductions in HF [heart failure] risk.”
What This Means For You
Exercise undoubtedly keeps your heart strong–but now new research shows that less isn’t more. To maximize the heart benefits from exercise, aim to exercise for at least an hour a day; and if that isn’t doable in one session, try splitting up your workouts into several smaller exercise bursts.
Readers: How long do you usually exercise?
New Study For Optimal Heart Health: Americans Should Double or Quadruple How Long They Exercise – WashingtonPost.com
30 Minutes of Daily Exercise is Not Enough: Here’s Why – TechTimes.com
Dose Response Relationship Between Physical Activity and Risk of Heart Failure: A Meta-Analysis – AHAJournals.org