Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Contrary to Research, British Believe Moderate Exercise Healthier Than Vigorous

Date:
October 10, 2007
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
British adults now believe that moderate activity is more beneficial than vigorous exercise, according to new research. Although most large studies show that the greatest health benefits are derived from regular participation in vigorous activities, such as jogging and competitive sports, 56% of men and 71% of women now believe moderate activities, like walking, are most beneficial.

British adults now believe that moderate activity is more beneficial than vigorous exercise, according to new research by the University of Exeter and Brunel University. Although most large studies show that the greatest health benefits are derived from regular participation in vigorous activities, such as jogging and competitive sports, 56% of men and 71% of women now believe moderate activities, like walking, are most beneficial.

The first study to investigate attitudes to moderate and vigorous activity since Government physical activity guidelines changed in the mid 1990s, this research is now published in Preventive Medicine.

Traditionally, adults were encouraged to take part in 20 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise three or more times a week. In 1990, research showed around 90% of British adults believed vigorous exercise was important in maintaining and improving health and fitness. Since 1995 the Department of Health has instead promoted 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week, which can be achieved through everyday activities such as walking, housework or gardening. The research team believes this shift in attitudes is threatening the nation's health and is calling for evidence-based guidelines.

Dr Gary O'Donovan, exercise physiologist from the University of Exeter and lead author on the paper said: "Time and time again, the largest and most robust studies have shown that vigorously active individuals live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than moderately active individuals and couch potatoes. It's extremely worrying that British adults now believe that a brief stroll and a bit of gardening is enough to make them fit and healthy. The challenge now is to amend Britain's physical activity guidelines so that they emphasise the role vigorous activity plays in fighting obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease."

In addition to halving the risk of diabetes and heart disease, recent studies have shown that regular exercise offers protection from certain cancers. The research team believes that 30 minutes of brisk walking per day might be sufficient to reduce the risk of breast cancer, but regular participation in vigorous exercise is probably necessary to reduce the risk of prostate and colorectal cancers.

The researchers argue that in order to enable the public to make fully-informed decisions about exercise, policymakers should describe the dose-response relationship between physical activity and health. Dr. O'Donovan explains that: "Brisk walking offers some health benefits, but jogging, running and other vigorous activities offer maximal protection from disease."

Dr. O'Donovan adds: "Sedentary adults should complete a six- to twelve-week programme of moderate exercise before beginning a programme of vigorous exercise. Men older than 45 and women older than 55 should consult their GP before taking up vigorous exercise."

The survey, which was funded by the Sports Marketing Research Trust, shows for the first time, the extent of awareness of the current Government exercise recommendations: 78% of men and 84% of women interviewed were aware that moderate activity is currently recommended for adults.

Examples of moderate activities in healthy adults

  • Brisk walking
  • Cycling at less than 10 mph
  • Mowing the lawn with a power mower

Examples of vigorous activities in healthy adults

  • Doubles tennis
  • Competitive badminton
  • Circuit training
  • Jogging and running

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Contrary to Research, British Believe Moderate Exercise Healthier Than Vigorous." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071009212553.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2007, October 10). Contrary to Research, British Believe Moderate Exercise Healthier Than Vigorous. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071009212553.htm
University of Exeter. "Contrary to Research, British Believe Moderate Exercise Healthier Than Vigorous." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071009212553.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins