The importance of physical exercise for heart health is not limited to just going to the gym or maintaining regularity in daily life. A study published in the journal Nature found that doing two minutes of high-intensity physical activity led to a 48% reduction in the risk of dying from cardiovascular problems. For cancer, the number jumps to 40%.
Study Details: Two Minutes of Physical Activity
Current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity per week. Another option is 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity. But after all, is a two-minute high-intensity activity doing you any good, too? According to the study, yes. That is to say: going up or down stairs, instead of using the elevator, has a direct impact on health, even if the person is not a regular practitioner of physical activity.
The researchers analyzed a database of 25,000 people with a mean age of 61.8 years. These people have not exercised regularly for almost seven years. And so they began to use electronic devices to measure the intensity of the exercises they did daily. The study authors note that those who engage in short bouts of intense physical activity as part of their routine have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death from cancer.
The difference between exercise and activity.
Physical exercise assumes that you have a predetermined class or training of a specific duration and a goal to achieve. On the other hand, physical activity is the mobilization of the body throughout the day, the expenditure of calories in general and daily activities.
Thus, according to the authors, many common activities of daily living promote exertion of relatively high intensity in physically inactive adults. Therefore, they suggest that encouraging this type of intermittent behavior may be more feasible for some people than structured exercise, which requires a time commitment or access to equipment or facilities. Examples include walking faster to work or going to the bakery.
The Importance of being active
For sports cardiologist Rodrigo Cardoso Porto, MD, from the Israelta Albert Einstein Hospital, this study reinforces the importance of physical activity. However, according to the doctor, this does not necessarily mean that scheduled physical activity is necessary.
“Climbing stairs, for example, requires demand and reserve on the heart. When you add small exercises that require this demand, you adjust your cardiovascular and respiratory system. Thus, you can improve your metabolic levels, increase the intensity of daily activities, in addition to adding overall health benefits.
Finally, according to Porto, high-intensity exercise helps reduce fat mass, improve fat mass, improve metabolic levels, and reduce insulin resistance. In addition, physical activity also reduces the incidence of arterial hypertension and improves vascular inflammatory factors (causing atherosclerosis).
“Exercise promotes a number of metabolic improvements and this will provide protection for the heart, blood vessels and even some cancers. Many people complain about lack of time. She concluded by saying that including a few minutes of high-intensity activity in your daily life will make a big difference.”