Exercise for 10 minutes a day improves health


New York: Just 10 minutes of exercise daily can improve the lives of overweight or obese older woman, new research has found.

In a study of 430 overweight, postmenopausal women who took part in various amounts of exercise each week- some as little as 70 minutes a week and others as much as 190 minutes a week, over a six month period.

Most of the exercise was done in three to four sessions per week. When the women were not enrolled in some kind of organized exercise, they were fitted with pedometers and told to simply go for walks to fill their exercise quotas.

Those who did the most exercise reaped the most benefits. But even those women who exercised just 10 minutes a day noticed improvements.

The women reported they felt better physically, emotionally and they could perform everyday tasks better, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries. The women improved:

* almost 7 per cent in physical function and general health,
* 16.6 per cent in vitality,
* 11.5 per cent in performing work or other activities,
* 11.6 per cent in emotional health
* and more than 5 per cent in social functioning.

Some of the women did lose weight over the six months. But the researchers found that it didn’t matter even if they didn’t; just getting out and about exercising improved their overall quality of life.

Researcher and study co-author Angela Thompson of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, La said: “The public health message is tremendous, because it provides further support for the notion that even if someone cannot exercise an hour or more daily, getting out and exercising 10 to 30 minutes per day is beneficial, too.”

The research was presented Thursday at the American Heart Association’s Conference on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism.

“This is the first large controlled study of postmenopausal women to look at the effect of exercise training on the quality of life,” added Dr. Timothy S. Church, principal investigator and research director at Pennington. “It shows that exercise gives you energy and makes you feel better.”

“Walking a little bit every day will help tremendously,” Thompson added. “Walk with your mother, a neighbor or friend. A little physical activity will improve your quality of life.”