Moderate-to-vigorous workouts reduce mortality, even in short bursts under 10 minutes

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, sheds new light on how to best counteract the health risks of sedentary lifestyles. For decades “guidelines have suggested that moderate-to-vigorous activity could provide health benefits, but only if you sustained the activity for 10 minutes or more,” said study author and DMPI Faculty member William E. Kraus, M.D.

Kraus’s study found that even brief trips up and down stairs would count toward accumulated exercise minutes and reducing health risks so long as the intensity reaches a moderate or vigorous level. Moderate exertion was defined as brisk walking at a pace that makes it hard to carry a conversation. Boosting that pace to a jog would be vigorous exercise for most people, he said.

The study findings are good news for most Americans, Kraus said, because they typically get their moderate or vigorous exercise in short bouts, and accumulating 30 minutes per day may be more convenient than setting a half-hour block.

The most dramatic improvements in the overall risk for death and disease can occur with a small amount of effort, Kraus said. In the study, people who got 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity per week cut their risk of death by 57 percent. Getting at least 100 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity each week cut risk of death by 76 percent, the data showed.

Watch an interview with Bill.