If you can't do intensive exercise for an hour every day, I have great news for you. There's a better way to stay healthy and it doesn't require any intensive exercise.
In a recent study, researchers followed 18 healthy subjects with a body mass index of 22.6 (high). They completed three physical activity regimens for four days. These were: sitting 14 hours per day (sitting group), sitting 13 hours per day plus one hour of rigorous exercise (exercise group), eight hours sitting plus four hours walking and two hours standing (minimal intensity physical group).
The sitting and exercise groups had a comparable number of hours where they just sat down. The exercise and minimal intensity physical activity regimens had the same daily energy expenditure. The investigators were specifically interested in insulin responses/sensitivity. They used an oral glucose tolerance test and plasma lipids each morning after the physical activity regimen.
The daily calorie expenditure was 500 calories less in those sitting. Their plasma lipids were significantly improved in the minimal intensity group compared to sitting, and non-significantly improved over the exercise group.
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The conclusion? One hour of daily intense activity cannot compensate if the rest of the day is spent sitting. The authors stated that reducing inactivity (sitting) by increasing the time spent walking or standing is more effective than one hour of physical exercise.
This research conforms to most everything I've read on exercise and physical activity. I don't believe that God designed humans for prolonged intense activity nor for sitting for long hours. I do sit writing these pages and researching. I get a rigorous workout only about once per week. However, I make sure to walk and be on my feet at least a few hours a day, on the non-rigorous days, or tend to trees and garden. And my physical condition, weight, glucose tolerance, and blood pressure all seem to like it.
Please, just get out and walk, and a fair amount. Walk around your house, in your yard, at the mall or shopping center, anywhere you can. Just keep moving or at least stand more than sit. It's your best exercise, the cheapest, and the simplest to do. This is much better than intense exercise. And it's much better than sitting.
Soundview Communication, Inc.
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