Is it enough to do half an hour of physical activity a day for a lifetime?

THE NEW YORK TIMES – LIFE / STYLE – For anyone interested in interacting exercise and long lifeone of the most pressing questions is how much we need to stay healthy. Is thirty minutes a day enough? Can we survive on less? Do we have to do everything in one session, or can we extend the exercises throughout the day? And when it comes to exercise, should it be difficult to count?

Over the years, scientific exercises he tried to count the ideal “dose” of exercise for most people. Finally, they reached a broad consensus in 2008 on physical activity guidelines for the U.S., which were updated in 2018 after an extensive review of available science. movement, sedentary lifestyle and health. In both versions, the instructions recommended that anyone who was physically fit was able to accumulate a moderate 150-minute exercise per week, half of which was intense.

But what is the best way to whitewash those minutes of the week? And what does “moderate” mean? Here’s what some of the leading exercise science researchers have to say about step counting, stairs, weekend athletes, longer duration, and why we can take the healthiest step that takes us off the couch.

It follows the announcement

It follows the announcement

Scientists point out how they can improve the performance of moderate exercise. Photo: Keith E. Morrison for The New York Times

Aim for a perfect 150 minute goal

“For duration, 150 minutes a week physical activity moderate or strong intensity is sufficient, ”said Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of epidemiology at TH Chan School of Public Health in Harvard, who has studied movement and health in depth and helped write current national health guidelines. physical activity.

For practical purposes, exercise scientists generally recommend spending these 150 minutes five times a week on a 30-minute brisk walk or similar activity. “A large number of well-conducted epidemiological studies show that moderate-intensity 30-minute activity on most days reduces the risk of premature death and many diseases, such as stroke, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and many types of cancer,” said Ulf Ekelund. He is a professor specializing in the epidemiology of physical activity at the Norwegian Faculty of Sports Science in Oslo, and he led many of these studies.

Moderate exercise, he continued, “means activities that increase breathing and heart rate, so the effort feels like five or six on a scale of one to 10.” In other words, Pick up the pace if you feel like walking for a while, but don’t be forced to run.

Consider an exercise snack

You can also split your workout into smaller parts. “It doesn’t matter if the exercise is done in a long, continuous 30-minute session or in shorter sessions throughout the day,” said Emmanuel Stamatakis, an exercise scientist at the University of Sydney in Australia who studies physical activity. and health.

Recent research shows that we can stack up to 150 minutes a week of exercise in a way that suits us best, he said. “It will be easier and more sustainable for many people to take a one- or two-minute walk between work assignments” or other commitments. “There’s nothing special about 30-minute continuous exercise sessions” for most health benefits.

Think of these little workouts as exercise snacks, he said. “Activities such as brisk walking, climbing stairs and carrying shopping bags offer great opportunities. movement snacks”. To focus on the health benefits of these workout nuggets, he added, keep the intensity high enough to take a little breath away.

The recommendations remain the same if you measure your exercise in steps instead of minutes. For most people, “150 minutes of exercise a week would be about 7,000 to 8,000 steps a day,” Lee said. Lee and Ekelund in a new large-scale study of the relationship between steps and duration, published in March. LancetThe optimal number of steps for people under 60 was between 8,000 and 10,000 a day, and for those over 60, about 6,000 to 8,000 a day.

Of course, these minute and minute recommendations are based on health and life expectancy, not physical performance. “If you want to run a marathon or a 10K race as fast as possible, you need a lot more exercise,” Ekelund said.

The recommended 150 minutes per week may also be too little to avoid weight gain With age. In a 2010 study of nearly 35,000 women led by Lee, only those who walked for half an hour a day in the middle of the day or exercised only maintained weight as they got older.

So if you have the time and energy, move on. more than 30 minutes a day, said Lee and other scientists. In general, according to their research and other research, the more active we are, the more than 30 minutes a day, the lower the risk of chronic diseases and the longer our lives can be.

But any activity is better than nothing. “Every minute counts,” Ekelund said. “Climbing stairs has health benefits, even if you repeat them regularly for just a minute or two.” / TRANSLATION LÍVIA BUELONI GONÇALVES

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