The trial, led by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, found that a moderate exercise regimen, such as 12 miles of brisk walking each week, can provide significant improvements in fitness levels while reducing the risks of developing cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the researchers found that any additional increase in amount or intensity can yield even more health benefits.
The results of the analysis were published in the October, 2005, issue of the journal Chest.
"People only need to walk up to 12 miles per week or for about 125 to 200 minutes per week to improve their heart health," said the lead author Brian Duscha. "Our data suggest that if you walk briskly for 12 miles per week you will significantly increase your cardiovascular fitness levels compared to baseline. If you increase either your mileage or intensity, by going up an incline or jogging, you will achieve even greater gains."
The researchers said that their findings should inspire those couch potatoes who have been hesitant to begin exercising regularly -- especially since earlier analysis of the same participants (will insert link to inactivity study) by the same Duke team found that people who do not exercise and maintain the same diet will gain up to four pounds each year.
"The participants in our study received the fitness benefits without losing any weight," Duscha said. "Many people exercise to lose weight, and when that doesn't occur, they stop exercising. However, the truth is that
Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University Medical Center