Intense Workouts Better Than Walking 10,000 Steps A Day

Published: Wed 27 Apr 2022 10:24 AM
Intense workouts can improve a person's fitness more, compared to milder forms of exercise like walking 10,000 steps a day, according to a brand new report by Boston University School of Medicine researchers.
ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says the report endorses the importance of intensity and how structured activity such as exercise is particularly valuable.
“Group activities have previous been shown as a great way to add in more activity and extra intensity,” he says.
“Once again, we call on the government to work with us on this one. The cost on inactivity is paid for by us personally through shorter lives and in a dollar sense through us collectively as taxpayers through the higher health costs which are at more than $1.5 billion a year.
“The new Boston report shows working out with more intensity than walking 10,000 steps over the course of a day drastically improves a person’s fitness, compared to milder forms of exercise.”
Exercise is healthy and the Boston University School of Medicine set out to answer in the largest study to date aimed at understanding the relationship between regular physical activity and a person’s physical fitness.
The study of about 2000 participants from the Framingham heart study appears in the European Heart Journal.
By establishing the relationship between different forms of habitual physical activity and detailed fitness measures the researchers hope their study will provide important information that can ultimately be used to improve physical fitness and overall health across the life course.
While there is a wealth of evidence supporting the health benefits of both physical activity and higher levels of fitness, the actual links between the two are less well understood, especially in the general population, as opposed to athletes or individuals with specific medical problems. The study was designed to address this gap, but they were also interested in answering several specific questions.
The researchers wondered how different intensities of physical activity might lead to improvements in the body’s responses during the beginning, middle, and peak of exercise. They expected to find that higher amounts of moderate-vigorous physical activity, like exercise, would lead to better peak exercise performance.
They were surprised to see that higher intensity activity was also more efficient than walking in improving the body’s ability to start and sustain lower levels of exertion.
They were also uncertain whether the number of steps per day or less time spent sedentary would truly impact peak fitness levels. The findings were consistent across categories of age, sex, and health status, confirming the relevance of maintaining physical activity throughout the day for everyone.
They wondered how different combinations of the three activity measures contribute to people’s peak fitness? They saw that individuals with higher-than-average steps per day, or moderate-vigorous physical activity, had higher-than-average fitness levels, regardless of how much time they spent sedentary.
Beddie says this is particularly important and relevant given that almost two thirds of all jobs involve sitting for eight plus hours a day.
“We need more research into this, and it’s valuable to see that we can offset this through activities at other times in the day.”
So, it seems that much of the negative effect that being sedentary has on fitness may be offset by also having higher levels of activity and exercise.

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