Monday, October 10, 2005

Just 30 Minutes Of Daily Exercise Needed For Heart Health and Fitness, Study Shows

Duscha recommends 18-28 minutes of moderate daily exercise

A new study shows that exercising a minimum of 120 to 200 minutes each week at a moderate intensity will improve your fitness and cut your chances of getting cardiovascular disease. If you are livin' la vida low-carb and wanting to kickstart your weight loss into high speed, then this kind of exercise is exactly what you need to be doing in combination with your low-carb way of eating to burn more fat and build more muscle.

Appearing in the October issue of CHEST, a journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), found that adults who engage in exericise such as walking at a fast pace for 12 miles or spend approximately 2-3 hours per week doing some kind of moderate exercise will vastly improve their heart health and overall fitness level. In fact, the study also suggests that the length of your exercise may be more important than the intensity of it, which flies in the face of this researcher's findings from a few months ago.

Lead researcher Brian D. Duscha from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina said the old adage that you need to have an intense workout to see the best results may not be as necessary as once thought.

“The classic exercise regimen has a component of intensity up to 80 percent of someone’s maximum for health benefits," Duscha stated. "Our study demonstrates that you can exercise at an intensity much less than that and still achieve fitness benefits."

Duscha added that this new data from his study will take away the excuses many people give for not exercising as they should.

"People find exercise ‘hard’ and few people want to exercise at an intensity higher than they have to," Duscha maintained. "Walking briskly for 12 miles a week per week is realistic and does not require anyone to incorporate a hardcore training regimen. Increasing your mileage or intensity will give you even greater health benefits.”

The study involved 133 people who do not exercise, are overweight, are nonsmokers and are 40-65 years old with high fat in their blood. These people were split into four distinct groups:

1. High-amount/high-intensity - Jogging 20 miles per week at 65-80 percent intensity
2. Low-amount/high-intensity - Jogging on an inclined treadmill for 12 miles per week at 65-80 percent intensity
3. Low-amount/moderate-intensity - Walking 12 miles per week at 40-55 percent intensity
4. Control group of nonexercising participants

Each of the patients had cardiopulmonary testing before the start of the study and after exercising for 7 to 9 months.

The study revealed that all of the groups that exercised saw significant improvements in their fitness and health. However, the high-amount/high-intensity group did not see significantly different results than those who were in the high-amount/moderate-intensity group.

Duscha is quick to point out that working out harder will still benefit your body if you can do it, but you don't need to feel compelled to do it until you are ready.

“Although our results did point toward amount being more important, it is very likely fitness levels can be improved by increasing either amount or intensity,” said Duscha. “This is illustrated by the tiered effect the exercise dose had on fitness improvements across our groups. We believe with more people in the study, increasing intensity would also have been significant.”

Interestingly, the average weight loss was less than three pounds each after exercise which Duscha said presents a frustrating set of circumstances for people trying to lose weight.

“A second very important message is that subjects enjoyed fitness benefits in the absence of weight loss. Many people exercise with the purpose of losing weight. When they do not lose weight, they do not think the exercise is benefiting them and they stop exercising,” Duscha remarked.

But Duscha said it is more important to improve your heart health than to worry about the scale not moving.

“The truth is, you can improve your cardiovascular fitness and reduce your risk for heart disease by exercising without losing weight," he contended. "Even if individuals do not lose weight, it is likely that they will lose body fat and increase lean muscle mass while reducing other risk factors.”

I know the exercise I have done in combination with my low-carb lifestyle is what has helped me drop my body fat percentage down to 11 percent from a starting point of a whopping 50 percent! There's no way I could have ever done that and lose 180 pounds like I did without the help of exercise. I wrote a whole chapter on exercise in my book because it is such an integral part of livin' la vida low-carb.

The researchers conclude and I concur that people need to make exercise an important aspect of their life and do whatever it takes to get motivated to do it. As I have always said myself, the researchers recommend you take it easy at first with a fun activity you enjoy and work your way up. Nobody's expecting you to run a marathon race at the very start, but get that heart rate up and sweat a little. You will feel better in just a matter of weeks. Within months you'll be begging to go to the gym!

“Regular exercise is an important part of a well-balanced lifestyle,” said Paul A. Kvale, MD, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians. “Physicians and other health-care providers should encourage their patients to engage in regular exercise in order to obtain pulmonary and cardiovascular benefits.”

As much as I like to credit my low-carb lifestyle for the radical transformation that took place in me over the past year or so, I give as much credit to my daily exercise routine. My visits to my local YMCA have become as much a part of my routine as watching my carbs. I don't always workout hard, but I do workout long. I probably average about 45 minutes per day of moderate exercise on an elliptical machine burning about 800 calories and feeling absolutely awesome doing it!

This from a former 410-pound slob whose idea of exercise was one sit-up a day: I get up in the morning that's half, I lay down at night that's the other half! Those days are long gone now and I literally crave my exercise now. CRAVE IT and can't live without it! That's the miracle that has happened to me since I started livin' la vida low-carb.

Send an e-mail to Brian Duscha for his incredible research study on exercise at


Blogger Unknown said...

I started at Curves - that women's 30 minute gym. :)

1/11/2006 2:46 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

It now takes me 45 minutes to burn 450 calories on the elliptical at my gym.. I've only been working out for 2 weeks and started pretty out of shape. I'm 24, I'm 5'10'', 148lbs, 22% body fat. I couldn't imagine burning off 800 calories in that time! I'd be dead! I guess I'll have to work up to that! What setting do you have it on? I do the "fat loss" but I up the resistance a bit. I keep my heart rate in the "cardiovascular" section for most of the workout (157 bpm average). I've also incorporated strength training.

Any tips for a newbie would be appreciated. Trying to have a banging body by next summer!

8/13/2006 6:27 PM  

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