Study: To get enough exercise, try engaging in three different activities a week
Now that most of us are rethinking our exercise regimens, it’s a good time to consider a different — and possibly more effective — approach to increasing our level of activity. A study published in January argues that we should obsess less about that 150-minutes-a-week goal and focus instead on a greater variety of exercise. “It may be that the current guidelines place too much emphasis on frequency and volume of exercise,” said Susan Malone, first author of a paper published in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine. “If we refocus people to more varieties of exercise, they might have more success reaching the targets.”
This conclusion arises from an analysis of the physical-activity patterns of more than 9,000 U.S. adults. Malone and colleagues from New York University’s Rory Myers College of Nursing dug deep into a U.S. database known as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They looked for total minutes of exercise and the number of different activities pursued by the subjects.
A full 44 percent of respondents reported that they did no physical exercise of any kind in the previous month. Among the respondents who did exercise, walking was the most popular exercise by far, practiced by 30 percent of respondents. It was followed by bicycling (9.5 percent), dance (7.5 percent), treadmill walking and running (7.4 percent), and weightlifting (6.9 percent). At the far end of the scale, two people engaged in gymnastics and surfing. The questionnaire picked up 47 different types of physical ...
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