Researchers studied how being sedentary, walking, and routine exercise impacts health

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Researchers from Boston University studied how much being sedentary, walking, and routine exercise impacts fitness, with new findings published in the European Heart Journal.

Exercise is healthy. That is common knowledge. But just how rigorous should that exercise be to really impact a person’s fitness level? And, if you sit all day at a desk, but still manage to get out and exercise, does that negate your six, seven, or eight hours of sedentary behavior?

Led by Matthew Nayor, MD, MPH,  assistant professor of medicine and a cardiologist specializing in heart failure at Boston Medical Center, the study was aimed at understanding the relationship between regular physical activity and a person’s physical fitness. 

The findings came from a study of approximately 2,000 participants from the Framingham Heart Study. They found that bouts of moderate to vigorous exercise—working out with more intensity than, say, walking 10,000 steps over the course of a day—drastically improved a person’s fitness, compared to milder forms of exercise.

“By establishing the relationship between different forms of habitual physical activity and detailed fitness measures,” Nayor said in a statement, “we hope that our study will provide important information that can ultimately be used to improve physical fitness and overall health across the life course.”