Two Days Of Intense Exercise Has Same Heart Benefits As Regular Workouts: Study | Health News

People who engage in intense physical activity for 1-2 days reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke as much as those who do moderate physical activity for several days, a study suggests. Current guidelines from the World Health Organization and American Heart Association recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per week for overall health benefits. However, the impact of concentrated versus evenly distributed activity has remained unclear.

The study, published in the journal JAMA, investigates the associations of cardiovascular event risk between a “weekend warrior” pattern of physical activity, where the majority of MVPA is achieved over 1-2 days, and a pattern of more evenly distributed MVPA across multiple days. The researchers analysed data from the UK Biobank cohort study, focusing on participants who provided a full week of accelerometer-based physical activity data between June 8, 2013, and December 30, 2015.

With this data, the researchers compared 3 MVPA patterns. In the active weekend warrior group, participants achieved at least 150 minutes of MVPA with 50 per cent of the total activity completed in 1-2 days. Participants in the active regular group achieved at least 150 minutes of MVPA but did not meet active WW criteria. In the inactive group, participants completed less than 150 minutes of MVPA. They also assessed the same patterns using a median threshold of 230.4 minutes or more of MVPA per week.

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Associations between these activity patterns and incident atrial fibrillation, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke were analysed. The analysis included 89,573 individuals with a mean age of 62 years, of whom 56 per cent were women, who underwent accelerometry. Results showed that both concentrated and evenly distributed activity patterns were associated with similarly lower risks of all four cardiovascular events, the researchers said.

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The study found that interventions targeting cardiovascular health through physical activity may be effective even if concentrated within 1-2 days per week, they said. This finding is particularly relevant for individuals with time constraints, as it suggests shorter timeframes for physical activity may still yield positive results, according to the researchers. “Within nearly 90,000 individuals providing wrist-based activity quantification, physical activity concentrated within 1 to 2 days was associated with similarly lower risk of cardiovascular outcomes to more regular activity,” the authors noted.

“These observations thereby extend prior work reporting improved cardiovascular outcomes with increasing moderate and vigorous activity, as well as reports suggesting that concentrated physical activity is associated with similar reductions in mortality to more regular activity,? they said.

These findings suggest that engagement in physical activity, regardless of pattern, may optimise risk across a broad spectrum of cardiovascular diseases, the researchers added.

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