Research involving over 200,000 adults aged 45 to 75, over an 8 year period in New South Wales, Australia, indicates that incorporating some vigorous exercise into your exercise program is the best way to ensure you live a long healthy life, according to a new article in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).
The other good news is that your vigorous exercise doesn’t need to be continuous; you can do it intermittently. For instance, when I jog I will stop and walk for a few minutes, then jog again for a while, then stop and walk again etc. Intermittent exercise has been found to be a very good way to do vigorous exercise, particularly for older people.
To help put this into context I will briefly revisit the exercise program in my cornerstone article on exercise for older men:
Your exercise programme should include the following 3 key elements for all round fitness:
- Flexibility or stretching. Stretching your muscles regularly is vital at any age, but even more important for older people.
- Strength or resistance training. Strength or resistance training is an important element of an effective exercise program for older people.
- Aerobic or cardio training. This element is designed to increase your heart rate, increase your rate of breathing and pump your blood around your body, in particular your brain, for the duration of the exercise. It includes activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, and biking.The vigorous exercise being recommended in this article would fall into this category.
You can read my overview article on recommended exercise programs here.
Summary of SMH Article and Findings of Research
According to a new article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Study author Klaus Gebel said his research had shown people who regularly did vigorous exercise were up to 13 per cent less likely to die prematurely than those who did moderate exercise, and 50% less likely than people doing little or no exercise.
The Herald goes on to say “This new research, published in the prestigiousJAMA Internal Medicine journal, supports the latest trend in exercise of high intensity interval training. Rather than doing long periods of exercise you are better off doing short, sharp bursts of very hard exercise. But Dr Gebel, who works at James Cook University’s centre for chronic disease prevention, said vigorous exercise didn’t need to fit into one particular style. “It doesn’t necessarily even have to be going to the gym, it could be vigorous gardening.”
“If you think of people who maybe so far have only been doing some walking, it could make a significant difference if on top of that they maybe have something like 20-30 minutes per week, not necessarily a lot, of doing something vigorous that makes them sweat and significantly increases their breathing rate,” he said.
Dr Gebel also added that other studies had indicated that working up a sweat could have other beneficial health effects, not only improving our fitness but decreasing inflammation, blood fats and blood pressure.
The conclusion of the report abstract says “Our findings suggest that vigorous activities should be endorsed in clinical and public health activity guidelines to maximize the population benefits of physical activity.”
I do recommend you read my summary article on exercise programs here.
Before starting vigorous exercise be sure to also read the report on Interval Training from the Herald article, to work out which is the best and safest way to incorporate vigorous exercise in your fitness regime: high intensity interval training.
Finally, please make sure you discuss your exercise plan with your doctor or medical adviser before commencing.
You can read the original SMH article here