A group of researchers set out to
determine if lesser amounts of exercise could provide any measurable
health benefits. Their findings were published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
A study was designed in which a group of
106 healthy adults between ages 40 and 60 were divided into three
groups. The first was assigned to follow the standard exercise protocol
of 30 minutes of brisk walking five days each week. The second walked
briskly for 30 minutes three days per week. The third group did not
change their daily routine. Pedometers and logs were used to be certain
the subjects were sticking to their assignments.
Twelve weeks later, the participants
were checked to determine if they had achieved any improvements in
health indicators. The control group, of course, demonstrated no
change. The five-day walkers showed no improvement in cholesterol or
weight, although they did experience a drop in blood pressure, a
decrease in hip and waist measurement and a noticeable improvement in
The actual focus of the study, however,
was the three-days-per-week walkers. Previous information suggested
that their level of exercise was too low to produce measurable benefit.
Surprisingly, this investigation revealed that even this group produced
comparable improvements in blood pressure, hip and waist measurements
and overall fitness of those found in the five-day group.
For those who are short on time or
motivation, it is important to know that devoting as little as 90
minutes of moderately intense exercise a week is all it takes to
enhance your health and fitness.