New Study Finds Timing of Exercise Does Not Impact Benefits to Heart Health
Exercise has long been recommended for overall health and heart health, with guidelines suggesting that individuals engage in 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week. However, a new study has analyzed data from the UK Biobank to determine if the timing of exercise affects its benefits.
Around 90,000 healthy, middle-aged people participated in the study, wearing wristbands that tracked their activity levels, with a specific focus on moderate-to-vigorous activity. The researchers found that regular moderate-to-vigorous activity was associated with a lower risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.
Surprisingly, there was no difference in outcomes between those who conducted more than half of their activity at the weekend compared to those who spread it out across the week. The study even referred to individuals who did more than 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous activity as “weekend warriors.”
However, it is important to note that the threshold used for moderate-to-vigorous exercise in the study was considered low and achievable through everyday activities. The participants in the study were not athletes, but rather normal middle-aged individuals with varying levels of exercise and general activity. The study emphasizes that doing the bare minimum of 150 minutes without breaking a sweat is better than being sedentary. Still, more intense exercise will likely yield greater benefits.
It is also crucial to note that the findings of this study do not apply to more intense forms of exercise. Individuals should make an effort to engage in higher intensity activities if possible. The study’s focus was primarily on moderate-to-vigorous activity, which can be achieved through activities such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.
Overall, this study challenges the notion of living a sedentary lifestyle during the week and compensating with minimal exercise on the weekends. It highlights the importance of regular moderate-to-vigorous exercise for heart health, regardless of when it is performed. Individuals are advised to meet the recommended guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week, but should also strive to incorporate more intense exercise for additional benefits.