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Exercise doesn't have to be vigorous to be effective

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Obese individuals have a higher risk than those with healthier weights to develop heart disease and high cholesterol. This is why people who are obese should regularly get blood tests to help determine if they are on their way to developing any adverse health conditions. While overweight individuals likely know that they need to exercise regularly in order to shed pounds and improve insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels, not everyone has the motivation to workout.

It can particular be difficult for people to participate in a high-intensity workout regimen if it's been a long time since they last hit the gym. However, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, a low-intensity exercise program can be even more effective than a strenuous one.

Walk your way to healthier levels
Researchers examined 18 individuals between the ages of 19 and 24. The participants were told to engage in three different levels of activity. For the first day, the individuals were told to simply sit for 14 hours a day and not engage in any exercise whatsoever. On the next day, the participants sat for 13 hours a day and then exercised vigorously for one hour. On the final day, individuals were told to sit for six hours, walk for four and then stand for two. After each day, the scientists measure participants' insulin sensitivity and blood lipid levels, which help determine if a person is at risk of diabetes or obesity, among other metabolic disorders.

While some people may believe that the high-intensity workout would have the greatest impact on insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels, in the end it was discovered that the low-intensity program of walking and standing had the most positive effects. There were slight improvements on the days when the participants exercised vigorously, but they were slight compared to the results people saw when they simply walked and stood more throughout the day.

What does this mean?
These findings suggest that people should be walking more each day if they want to improve their health. Reader's Digest magazine has some helpful tips for how people can increase the amount of walking they do each day.

For example, the news source recommends that individuals make walking a habit. This means that rather than sitting while on the phone or reading a magazine, people should get into the habit of walking around their homes while they engage in these activities. Furthermore, people who have a mobile tablet may be able to walk around while watching their favorite movies or television shows.

Also, individuals who have an hour-long lunch should split it into two halves. The first half should be spent walking around, while the second can be used to eat. Those who live in a city can use this opportunity to explore all of the various places they can get lunch near their office.

Another well-known tip for how to walk more throughout the day is to take the stairs whenever possible. Some people may always take the elevator because they work on a very high floor of their office building, but these individuals should try to take the stairs for at least part of the way, and then get off at another floor and take the elevator if they have to. There's nothing wrong with starting slow and working up to taking the stairs the whole way up.

If people try hard enough, they'll see that there are many simple ways to work walking and standing for longer periods of time throughout the day.

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