How much exercise do I need?


A sedentary life-style and inactivity is becoming increasingly prevalent which is a great concern of many health professionals. According to the WHO 60 – 85% of the population worldwide does not engage enough in activity, making physical inactivity the fourth leading risk to mortality! Physical activity reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, breast cancer, colon cancer, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Regular physical activity and high levels of fitness allow daily task to be accomplished with greater ease and less fatigue. Research has shown that as much as half of the physical decline between the ages of 30 and 70 years is due not to aging itself, but to an inactive life-style.


According to guidelines developed by the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology, healthy adults require 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week (brisk walking, jogging, swimming or cycling). This is about half an hour of exercise every day. Many health professionals also agree that walking 10,000 steps a day (approximately 5 miles) is ideal to improve health and reduce health risks.


Physical activity – lower risk of cardiovascular disease

A recent study shows how important it is to encourage more physical activity. 120 women over 65 years old participated in this research conducted by the University of Orebro, Sweden. The study confirms that negative effects of a sedentary life-style decrease with the extent of moderate to vigorous physical activity. “This means that if one person is jogging while another one is only doing less strenuous activities, the first person runs a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than the second – regardless of the extent of their sedentary activities.”, says Professor Fawzi Kadi. The daily amount of exercise is crucial to a person’s health. More energetic exercise helps to decrease health issues even more.


Slowing down the aging process by vigorous exercise

Another study proves scientifically that you are able to slow down the aging process by exerting vigorous exercise. New research from Brigham Young University, Utah, reveals you can reduce the aging in your cells. The more physically active we are, the less biological aging takes place in our bodies – which explains why people who exercise often look younger!


This study, published in the “Preventive Medicine Journal”, finds that people who have consistently high levels of physical activity have significant longer telomeres. Telomeres are the protein endcaps of our DNA strand that protect our chromosomes. The length of the telomeres represents our biological age. Short telomeres are connected to cellular aging. The older we get, the shorter our telomeres.


High activity levels decrease the shortening process: Professor Larry Tucker found that adults who are highly physical active have telomeres with a biological aging advantage of nine years over those who are sedentary. Adults who are moderately active have a seven year advantage. Little exercise won’t do it: Highly active means, women had to engage in 30 minutes jogging per day (40 minutes for men) five times a week. Tucker said:” We know that regular physical activity helps to reduce mortality and prolong life, and now we know part of that advantage may be due to the preservation of the telomeres.”


Quite fascinating!