Time to get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather! Here's an excerpted copy of a recent New York Times article which I thought you'd find interesting.
Taking 10,000 steps per day is often suggested as a desirable exercise goal for people who wish to improve their health. But a new study of postal workers in Scotland suggests that that number could be too conservative and that, to best protect our hearts, many of us might want to start moving quite a bit more. Precisely how much exercise might be needed in order to avoid heart disease has remained very much in question. The threshold of 10,000 daily steps, incorporated as a goal into many activity monitors today, has not been scientifically validated as a way to lessen disease risk.
Researchers began by recruiting 111 of the postal-service workers, both men and women, and most between the ages of 40 and 60. None had a personal history of heart disease, although some had close relatives with the condition. They measured volunteers’ body mass indexes, waist sizes, blood sugar levels and cholesterol profiles, each of which, if above normal, increases the chances of cardiac disease.
Then they had each volunteer wear a sophisticated activity tracker for a week, while at work and at home and during the weekend. Afterward, the researchers determined how many waking hours each day the volunteers had spent seated or on foot. They also calculated how many steps each person had taken each day.
What they found: … almost any amount of standing and walking reduced a worker’s chances of having a large waistline and other risk factors for heart disease. But the greatest benefits came from the most exaggerated amounts of activity. Those mail carriers who walked for more than three hours a day, covering at least 15,000 steps, which is about seven miles, generally had normal body mass indexes, waistlines, and metabolic profiles. Together, these factors meant that they had, effectively, no heightened risk for cardiac disease.
How Many Steps?
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