Short bouts of exercise are just as effective as long workouts, according to two new studies.
The key to heart health, say researchers at Harvard School of Public Health, is getting the heart rate up in any way you can.
In both new studies, researchers found that even relatively small amounts of physical activity with an expenditure of as little as 1000 calories a week reduced the risk of heart disease by a fifth in the men studied.
It did not matter whether this exercise was taken in a single long session or in smaller sessions throughout the week. Those who expended more than 1000 calories per week during exercise lowered their risk of heart disease by about 20 per cent (Circulation, 2000; 102: 975-80, 981-7).
In a related observational study carried out in Copenhagen, joggers were found to have significantly lower rates of death from coronary events than non joggers.
The study followed 4658 men over a period of 20 years and found that those who had been regular joggers during this time were at the lowest risk of death (BMJ, 2000; 321: 602-3).