Thursday, March 25, 2010

60 Minutes a Day

We've learned about how little exercise you can get away with, and we've discussed the benefits of working out (much) more vigorously than recommended by the federal government. But how much exercise do we really need?

The brainiacs at Harvard have an answer -- at least for women:
A big new study says women who are middle-aged or older need to spend about 60 minutes every day doing moderate exercise just to avoid gaining weight. That's right: an hour every day.
The findings come from an analysis of data collected between 1992 and 2007 from 34,079 healthy U.S. women who participated in the federally funded Women's Health Study, an ongoing project that examines a host of health issues. It is being conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Over the 13-year period, women who ate a typical diet but on a daily basis engaged in about an hour's worth of moderate physical activity -- such as brisk walking -- were significantly less likely to pack on the pounds than those who were more sedentary, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Women who exercised less than an hour a day were significantly more likely to gain at least five pounds. The researchers caution that was only for those who started out at a healthy weight.
That means that the federal government's current recommendation that everyone get at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every week -- about 30 minutes a day for five days a week -- isn't enough to maintain a healthy weight, the researchers point out.
So get off your butts.

(Source: Washington Post)