Vigorous exercise required

A new somewhat controversial study has been performed by scientists at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and published in Heart (a British Medical Journal) concludes that only vigorous exercise combats the risk of early death from heart disease:

‘Moderate exercise’ not sufficient

bq. a new study published today said moderate exercise such as a brisk walk five times a week has no impact on the risk of dying from heart disease.

bq. The study authors concluded that regular exercise does have profound effects on health.

bq. But only vigorous exercise seemed to have any impact on the risk of an early death from heart disease.

I’ll take the second last paragraph to heart :-)

And from “CBS News”: :

bq. One drawback of the study, the scientists acknowledged, is that the men only were questioned about their exercise habits one time at the start of the study, so there is no way to know whether the men changed their habits over the 10 years the study was conducted.

bq. Studies that compare different intensities and patterns of exercise, but keep the number of calories burned equal, likely will provide stronger insight into the question of exactly what is required for heart health, Blair said.

bq. He said the superiority of the vigorous exercise might simply come down to the fact that it burns more calories than moderate exercise.

I can’t see anywhere if the study considered people who perform _no_ exercise; many of the “30 minute a day” studies compare against couch potatoes, where there’s a clear superiority. I also wonder if the study accounted for dietary differences; people who consider exercise important also tend to eat better.

Ah well; publish or perish is the rule, and publishing a controversial study certainly gets your names on the Internet :-)

posted at 9:06 am on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 in Health | Comments Off on Vigorous exercise required

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