Vigorous exercise good for young people, study finds

Ten minutes a day of high-intensity exercise may be beneficial for children, study finds.

Research out of the US has found that replacing low-intensity exercise with brief periods of higher-intensity or vigorous physical activity may be beneficial for the health of young people, particularly when it comes to their risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke later in life.

The study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, investigated data from 11,588 young people between the ages of four and 18. This data included their age, gender, level of physical activity and information about their cardiometabolic risk (risk of having diabetes, heart disease or stroke). These risks include variables such as blood pressure, waist circumference, body weight, cholesterol, glucose and insulin levels.

The study concluded that replacing light physical activity with a small amount of higher-intensity physical activity was ‘inversely associated with waist circumference and insulin’, meaning that the participants who did more higher-intensity exercise showed healthier physical signs.

“The results suggest that substituting modest amounts of vigorous physical activity for longer-duration light exercise may have cardiometabolic benefits above and beyond those conveyed by moderate activity and the avoidance of sedentary behavior,” lead author Justin B. Moore, Ph.D said.

Dr. Moore added that if future studies find similar results, “a relatively brief but intense dose of physical activity – perhaps as little as 10 minutes day, which is certainly feasible for most youth – could turn out to be part of a ‘prescription’ for children to achieve or maintain cardiac and metabolic health.”

Moore, J.B. et al. (2017.) ‘Associations of Vigorous-intensity Physical Activity with Biomarkers in Youth.’ Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2017; 1
DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001249

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