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EXERCISE IS THE BEST MEDICINE

EXERCISE IS THE BEST MEDICINE

Just when we thought we knew it all, official health exercise guidelines have been questioned. Is 150 minutes a week really enough to protect us from disease?

Fitness can help protect us against numerous lifestyle diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. But new research from the University of Queensland has suggested that we need to boost the recommended activity rates by five times in order to reduce disease risk.

HOW MUCH EXERCISE IS CURRENTLY RECOMMENDED?

The study used Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) minutes to add up exercise of different intensity. Think of these as measures of effort. Doing nothing is one MET. Three METs is light exercise and six METS is intensive.

At present, the current recommended amount of exercise by the World Health Organisation is 600 “MET minutes”, or at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.

Moderate exercises examples include brisk walking, bike riding and gardening.  Vigorous activities make you breathe so hard and fast it’s hard to hold a conversation, such as running, boxing and HIIT.

IS THIS ENOUGH TO BEAT DISEASE?

Apparently not. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that 600 MET minutes made hardly any impact at all. Instead, sharp reductions in disease risk required at least 3,000 to 4,000 “MET minutes” per week.

In other words, we should be doing more than 12.5 hours of moderate exercise or 6.25 hours of vigorous activity each week.

MORE EXERCISE?! HOW DO I MAKE TIME?

We know how busy you are! Most people aren’t able to spend this much time deliberately exercising. So as well as doing your regular gym workouts, you should incorporate more activity into your daily routines in order to up those MET minutes.

Gardening, vigorous housework, walking or cycling to work, carrying heavy bags... Lots of activities can add up to make a huge difference. Try to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting and include as many muscle strengthening activities as you can.

Also, increase the amount of vigorous exercise you do. Try Quick HIIT, martial arts and fast swimming. Running faster, less often has been shown to increase fitness quickly.

Increasing your activity levels won’t only decrease your risk of disease; it will also make you feel and look healthier, improve your brain function, increase your energy levels and give you a positive zest for life. Enjoy it!

 

the author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for Hussle. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.

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