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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Even a little exercise helps, study shows

Even small amounts of physical activity can boost the fitness of postmenopausal women who are sedentary and overweight, an article in tomorrow's Journal of the American Medical Association says.

As little as 72 minutes of exercise a week showed benefits for women in a trial led by Dr. Timothy S. Church at Louisiana State University. More exercise -- up to about three hours a week -- meant higher fitness levels, as measured by the amount of oxygen they consumed while cycling or walking. But the exercise did not affect cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure or weight.

These findings answer a question researchers have had about what the minimum "dose" of exercise might be to deliver health benefits, I-Min Lee, an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, writes in a related editorial. Fitness levels are strong predictors of chronic disease and premature mortality, previous studies have shown.

Lee writes: "This might be succinctly summarized for patients and clinicians as 'Even a little is good; more may be better!'"

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 05:58 PM
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