TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to exercise, a little may go a long way.
A new study finds that even low amounts of weekly physical activity can reduce blood pressure and improve overall fitness in adults, a new study finds.
The 12-week study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, included 106 healthy, but sedentary, people ages 40 to 60.
Researchers at Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland, had 44 of the participants do 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week, while 42 others did 30 minutes of brisk walking three days a week. The rest of the participants maintained their normal lifestyle.
By the end of the study, there was a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure and waist and hip girth in both groups of walkers, along with an increase in overall fitness. The non-walkers had no changes in any of these areas.
The authors noted that even slimming a few centimeters off hip and waist circumference and gaining a slight reduction in blood pressure is enough to reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Currently, it's recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise at least five days a week. But many people find it difficult to meet that goal. This study shows that people can still gain health benefits even if they can only manage three sessions of moderate intensity exercise a week, the authors said.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about exercise.
SOURCE: British Medical Journal, news release, Aug. 13, 2007