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Even minimal exercise better than none

While more exercise is always recommended, engaging in even 2 hours of moderate-intensity leisure activity is better than doing nothing at all. Here's what you can do.

health and fitness Updated: Aug 02, 2011 17:00 IST

While more exercise is always recommended, engaging in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity leisure activity is better than doing nothing at all and can lower the risk of heart disease by 14 percent compared to people who are inactive, according to a new study.

It also showed that there was a significant outcome for women, who showed stronger results than men. Increased levels of physical activity led to even lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), with a higher percentage for those who exceed two and a half hours per week.

“The overall findings of the study corroborate federal guidelines - even a little bit of exercise is good, but more is better – 150 minutes of exercise per week is beneficial, 300 minutes per week will give even more benefits,” said Jacob Sattelmair, ScD, of the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

In a meta-analysis, Sattelmair and his colleagues examined more than 3,000 studies of physical activity and heart disease, and included 33 of them in their analysis. Among those, nine looked at how much exercise people were actually doing.

“Early studies broke people into groups such as active and sedentary. More recent studies have begun to assess the actual amount of physical activity people are getting and how that relates to their risk of heart disease,” said Sattelmair.

The study appears in Circulation, journal of the American Heart Association.