Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Brief Bouts Of Vigorous Exercise During Daily Activities Are Associated With Reduced Risk Of Death

December 10, 2022

Vigorous exercise has significant health benefits above and beyond the benefits seen with moderate level exercise. The U.S. surgeon general recommends adults complete between 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise or 75-150 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. While many of our Boulder Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy patients reach these levels, the vast majority of Americans who reach these levels of exercise do so through a combination of both moderate and vigorous intensities. Vigorous exercise is often the least frequently performed type of exercise due to its’ higher intensity and levels of perceived exertion. Research continues to come forward highlighting the benefits of short duration vigorous aerobic exercise mixed into moderate exercise (intervals, HIIT) or during our daily activities. A recent study shows how a few, short (1-2 minute) bouts of vigorous exercise can positively impact our health.

Stamatakis and colleagues reported on the association of brief bouts of vigorous exercise each day and a participants future health risks (Nature Medicine. 2022). Authors followed over 25 thousand individuals (average age 61, 56% female) who were not active exercise participants and tracked both their activity levels and future risk of early death. Authors found participants who frequently had at least 3 bouts of short duration (1-2 minute) vigorous physical activity (brisk walk, quickly climbing a flight of stairs) showed a 40% reduction in all cause and cancer risk of death. In addition, these participants had a 50% reduced risk of early death from cardiovascular causes over the average 7 year follow up period. Interestingly, these risk reductions are similar to the positive effects of vigorous exercise among exercisers suggesting vigorous activity mixed into a participants daily activity may be an alternative to more formal exercise programs.

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