The Olympics are on TV again. Looking at all those hard bodies gets Americans back out into the sweat pants and exercising again, but for a brief time, when most of us quit.
Today’s New York Times Health section backs up treatment of high blood pressure, one of the primary risk factors for heart disease and stroke, with just three 10 minute walking sessions a day.
There is now a small but compelling body of science suggesting that short, cumulative exercise sessions are remarkably beneficial. A study published last year in PLoS One, for instance, found that in children and teenagers, repeated bouts of running or other physical activity lasting as little as five minutes at a time reduced the youngsters’ risks of poor cholesterol profiles, wide waistlines and above-average blood pressure readings as much as longer exercise sessions did.
I’ve been reading The First 20 Minutes, by Gretchen Reynolds, which treads this same territory. It’s refreshing to know that you don’t need to knock yourself out to stay fit. Reynold’s theory is that 80 % of the positive effects of exercise occur within the first 20 minutes of working out, with incremental gains resulting from hammering into the extended time put into working out.
There has to be some reasonable way to avoid falling into the category where 80% of us American seniors are on prescription medications, with an average of $85- $100 a month out-of-pocket expenses, even after health insurance. The majority of medications prescribed are for cholesterol and diabetes, which are well known to be lifestyle-choice results of poor health habits.
Makes sense to me.
Stand tall, walk and walk often.