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The researchers analyzed over 270,000 people aged 59 to 82. Respondents filled out questionnaires about their leisure activities as part of a longitudinal study focused on the relationship between diet and health. Experts published the latest findings Wednesday in the journal JAMA Network Open.
They followed the lives of the elderly for approximately twelve years and analyzed medical records for cancer, heart disease and other problems.
Practice, practice, practice
American health guidelines recommend that people engage in two and a half to five hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or one and a quarter to two and a half hours of vigorous activity each week. Aerobic exercises are those that are endurance and their goal is not to gain muscle mass.
According to European guidelines, people should exercise five times a week for at least thirty minutes at a moderate intensity, or three times a week for twenty to twenty-five minutes at a high intensity. These times correspond to the lower limit of American recommendations.
The scientific team worked with seven categories of aerobic exercise. He looked at the so-called metabolic equivalent (MET), which is a standardized way of measuring the intensity of physical activity and the amount of energy expended, reports the ScienceAlert website.
The results speak clearly. Any combination aerobic exercises, which the research participants devoted themselves to for the recommended time, brought the desired results. “Participation in any of these activities was associated with lower mortality compared to those who did not participate in any of the activities,” wrote study author Eleanor Watts, a postdoctoral researcher in epidemiology. The risk of early death was reduced by 13 percent in people who exercised.
A miracle called a rocket
In the area of heart disease, the most successful sports have been racket sports – that is, those in which people use a racket, for example tennis whose badminton. These helped research participants reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by a quarter. For premature death, they contributed to a 16 percent risk reduction.
For example, according to research, cancer was best prevented by those who regularly they ran. This sport reduced their risk of getting an illness by almost a fifth. At the same time, running reduced the risk of premature death by fifteen percent.
“Both of these activities (racquet sports and running) require the synchronized action of many muscles for proper form. In addition, racquet sports require players to have hand-eye coordination and very high-intensity bursts, which may also improve overall body functioning,” the researchers said.
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Even among respondents who did not meet the recommended times of exercise, but engaged in sports to some extent, the researchers noted a five percent reduction in risk. Therefore, no matter what type of movement people choose and at any intensity, the authors of the research have shown that it is related to the extension of life, according to the CNN station.
Walking improves mood
The study also confirmed that, after racket sports, it had the greatest effect on delaying death Walking for health. For many people it is nothing special, but the opposite is true. The new research is not the first to look at its benefits. “Walking is the most underrated corrective exercise that involves both body and mind when burning fat,” fitness expert and trainer Dana Santas told CNN.
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Many studies prove that this simple form of movement helps not only to improve physical condition, but also mental health. In addition, it helps people to be in the present moment, strengthens muscles and bones. So science shows that walking is one of the best exercises you can get.
Another analysis from Harvard states that if people walk for at least 21 minutes every day, they reduce their risk of heart disease by as much as thirty percent. In addition, countless other researches have shown that walking strengthens memory, as it helps the formation of gray brain matter. In some cases, it even helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Another benefit is also the improvement of mood. According to CNN experts, it is enough to walk five minutes a day in nature, and it is already possible to observe the results. In addition, walking helps reduce stress and gives energy.
Experts recommend walking even in cases where people suffer from insomnia, despite the fact that it is generally claimed that physical activity is more stimulating than calming. According to a study by the American Arthritis Foundation, women between the ages of 50 and 75 who went for an hour-long walk in the morning suffered from insomnia less than those who stayed at home.
Is ten thousand steps a day a good idea?
Perhaps everyone at least once in their life has heard recommendations about the number of steps per day. Although many people believe that the commonly quoted figure of ten thousand steps a day has a basis in scientific fact, recent studies suggest otherwise. Today’s science has proven that we don’t even need the designated eight kilometers, or ten thousand steps, for the health benefits.
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Belief in this round number originated in Japan in the 1960s. According to Harvard epidemiologist I-Min Lee, who is an expert on the number of steps and health, after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the Asian country tried to increase interest in fitness. A pedometer for exactly ten thousand steps was created during the campaign. This is how people began to set this number as an ideal fitness goal, which gradually became known to the whole world, reports The New York Times.
But not even half of the recommended steps are actually needed, according to a study Lee published in 2019. A scientist investigated the effect of the number of steps on the health of seventy-year-old women. The risk of premature death was reduced by up to forty percent for respondents who walked only 4,400 steps per day. Lee found that after five thousand steps were exceeded, the percentage increased more slowly. Once the number of steps taken by the women exceeded 7,500, no further benefit was seen.
In another, more extensive study, from 2020, in which researchers analyzed nearly five thousand middle-aged men and women, the researchers also found that ten thousand steps is not a definite recipe for longevity. In this research, though, people who walked 8,000 a day were half as likely to die prematurely as people who walked just 4,000. However, each additional step added only a small benefit.
In conclusion, it can be said that ten thousand steps is not a bad goal, but it will not offer anyone eternal life. Any movement is beneficial for health, and not even half of the steps already reduce the chances that a person will die too soon. “Just a five-minute walk every hour does wonders. It doesn’t even have to be intense walking. Just keep moving,” added exercise expert Evan Matthews of New Jersey.
How to know that the exercise is of moderate intensity
The national health portal of the European Union states that the pace of the exercise can be set according to the so-called conversation test. During moderate-intensity walking, people can speak in short sentences of at least three words without swallowing or gasping.
During moderate-intensity exercise, a person should be out of breath and have a higher heart rate. EU experts sum it up simply. “If you can sing during the activity, the intensity is too low. If, on the other hand, you can’t speak a word, it’s too high,” he states on his website.