Why moderate exercising may be better for you

June 18, 2012 3:37:56 PM PDT
For people who exercise, but feel they should be picking up the pace, a number of new studies show when it comes to better health and living longer, more isn't necessarily better, and could actually be worse.

Gordon Slaven had a heart attack last December. Cardio rehab helped get him on his road to recovery. It also gave him the confidence to get into a moderate fitness routine.

"No question, it works. I feel better for it no question this will be a part of my lifestyle from now on," Slaven said.

And now it appears moderate exercise is indeed the right prescription for better health. A number of new studies show a slower pace is more beneficial that a vigorous workout. Life span actually increases among those who don't go to extremes when exercising.

"Too much can be bad and hurt your heart, it can also hurt your joints by overdoing it," Dr. Margaret Furman, a cardiologist at Beth Israel Medical Center, said. She is Gordon's doctor.

Furman tells her patients the goal of moderate exercise is to sweat a bit, be a little huffy-puffy, but able to carry on a conversation.

"It's important to realize you don't have to push yourself. You don't have to go fast and that's what the study suggested that you don't need to run that seven minute mile," Furman said.

In one study, researchers combed through the medical records of more than 50,000 adults and looked at their rate of death. They found it was lowest among those who jogged at an average pace, about 1 to 20 miles per week at a pace of 10 or 11 minutes per mile.

Another study showed moderate exercise, like cycling, gentle jogging or walking increased life span by about three years.

Gordon gets up at 6:00 a.m. to exercise. You don't have to get up that early. What's important is for you to find some time to fit it into your schedule.

Take a sigh of relief knowing you don't have to push yourself to the limit to get in shape and be healthy. All you have to do is 30 minutes of moderate exercise 4 days a week in addition to stretching twice a week and weight lifting.

As far as those of you who want to run marathons or engage in heavy duty workouts, doctors don't discourage it. Just know your limitations and listen to your body. If you experience side effects such as extreme fatigue or even repeated injuries, it's not a workout plan for you.

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