In a new study from Boston University, researchers found that moderate-vigorous physical activity is the most efficient at improving fitness.
They found a higher amount of time spent performing exercise and less time spent sedentary, translated to greater physical fitness.
In the study, the team examined about 2,000 participants who underwent comprehensive cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET) for the “gold standard” measurement of physical fitness.
They found exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient at improving fitness.
Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary.
Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps/day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.
According to the researchers, the study was focused on the link between physical activity and fitness specifically (rather than any health-related outcomes).
But fitness has a powerful influence on health and is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and premature death.
Therefore, improved understanding of methods to improve fitness would be expected to have broad implications for improved health.
The researchers hope that this study will provide important information that can ultimately be used to improve physical fitness and overall health across the life course.
If you care about exercise, please read studies about timing of exercise linked to heart disease risk in people with type 2 diabetes and findings of this small exercise may help you reduce high blood pressure.
For more information about exercise and your health, please see recent studies about how to prevent and treat high blood pressure with exercise and results showing that this walking exercise could keep older people fit and health.
The study is published in the European Heart Journal. One author of the study is Matthew Nayor, MD, MPH.
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