We love studies like this! Duke University just released results from a study that underscores the real value of fitness. And it isn’t a firmer physique today. The big takeaway? The legacy effects from even moderate exercise that people enjoy decades later.
The study was a follow up to a five-year study that looked at the effects of different types and intensities of exercise on cardiovascular risk and weight. The study was called Studies Targeting Risk Reduction Interventions through Defined Exercise, or STRRIDE. In it, 175 overweight and sedentary men and women, each with high cholesterol, were assigned to varied exercise regimens for eight months, or directed to stay sedentary for six months.
The exercise regimens were low to moderate exercise, including walking 12 miles a week, or high to vigorous exercise, which included jogging 20 miles per week. The first study ultimately showed that covering 11 miles per week at either intensity prevented visceral fat accumulation. The group in the more intense exercise group also saw reduced subcutaneous fats. The sedentary control group collectively gained abdominal fat.
Now, here’s the interesting part. Ten years later, 104 participants from the original study came back for the follow up study, which was seeking to identify long-term benefits of that exercise. Data collected from questionnaires, height, weight, blood pressure, waist circumference, peak VO2 max, and blood samples would reveal some truly wonderful data.
All groups who participated in exercise in the first study saw big benefits over the control group, including a reduction in waist circumference. The more intense exercise group had the lowest decrease in aerobic capacity, and the low to moderate exercise group saw the greatest reduction in fasting insulin and mean arterial pressure. That means the walking group had healthier insulin and blood pressure levels now than they did more 10 years ago, when they initially participated in the study. What’s more? This group also had healthier metabolisms!
The big takeaway, according to the study’s authors, is that even a relatively modest stretch of regular exercise creates legacy effects over the following ten years – no matter how vigorous the activity. The best way to maintain body weight and waist circumference then, is just to get moving.
Working out today doesn’t just benefit you in the short term. It really does have long-term ramifications. If you’re ready to get started, the personal trainers at Framework Personal Training can help. Contact us today, and let’s make a plan for consistent exercise that will have a positive impact now and well into the future.