Medical Moment: How Much Should I Exercise?

Medical Moment: How Much Should I Exercise?

Telluride Inside… and Out is proud to feature the Telluride Medical Center’s MEDICAL MOMENT, a weekly column that answers common medical questions in pop culture. Have a question for the doctors? Click here to send.

Dr. Kent Gaylord, Board Certified in Family Practice

Dr. Kent Gaylord, Board Certified in Family Practice

Dr. Kent Gaylord answers this week’s question: How much should I exercise?

It’s been known for many years that exercise benefits overall health. Exercise is good for the heart, lungs, musculoskeletal system, metabolic system, and good for one’s mental health.

But how much exercise do we need? Is it harmful to do too much exercise?

A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine (April 6, 2015) helps answer these questions.

Here’s some history first:

In 2008 the US Department of Health and Human Services published the first Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. In the guidelines they recommended at least 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity. But whether this amount of exercise represents the ideal amount of exercise has not been certain.

In the recent JAMA study, they looked at 661,000 adults, over 14 years, and stratified them by their weekly exercise time, from those who did not exercise at all to those who worked out for 10 times the current recommendations (25 hours a week or more). The people who did not exercise at all were the highest risk of early death.

Surprisingly, however, those who exercised only a little (not meeting the current recommendations, but doing something), lowered their risk of premature death by 20 percent.

Those who exercised the recommended 150 minutes a week lowered their risk of early death by 31 percent.

So what about more exercise than the recommended amount?
Here are also some surprising results. Those who exercised triple the recommended amount of time, 450 minutes per week (or a little more than an hour per day), lowered their risk the most, a whopping 39 percent.

Exercising beyond this 450 minutes (10 times or more than the recommended) did not see benefits beyond those who just exercised the 150 minutes. Those avid exercisers also did not decrease their risk of dying young.

What’s the bottom line?

Two things. First, make sure you exercise every day. It could lower the risk of premature death by 20 percent.

Second, if you want to benefit the most from exercise (and lowering your risk about 39 percent), try to get about a hour a day of exercise.





Editor’s note: The Telluride Medical Center is the only 24-hour emergency facility within 65 miles. As a mountain town in a challenging, remote environment, a thriving medical center is vital to our community’s health.

For more Medical Moments on TIO, Click Here.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.