What was a bit surprising, Johnson said, was the benefits conferred to each group.
"What we found was that modest amounts of moderate intensity exercise [the low/moderate group] were very effective in improving metabolic syndrome," she said. Those who exercised the most, jogging 17 miles a week, gained a bit more benefit in terms of lowered metabolic syndrome scores, she said.
Those in the low amount/vigorous intensity group didn't improve their scores as much as those who did less-intense exercise for a longer period of time, the low amount/moderate intensity group.
Moderate intensity activity every day, or almost every day, may be better for metabolic syndrome risk reduction than more vigorous activity a few days a week, the researchers suggested.
All three groups of exercisers did have a reduction in their waistline circumference. Waist circumferences above 34.6 inches in women and 40.2 in men are a risk factor for metabolic syndrome, the researchers said.
The high amount/vigorous intensity group had the best reduction in body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height). It went from an average of 29.2 to 28.4. A BMI of 30 and higher is termed obese.
So, the bottom line for middle-age, sedentary, overweight people? "If you tell them to go out for a brisk walk 30 minutes on most days of the week, they are highly likely to improve health and metabolic syndrome risk," Johnson said.
The new research confirms advice on exercise from the American College of Sports Medicine and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she added.
"It confirms that exercise is beneficial," said Kerry Stewart, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who also has done research on the topic.
"It confirms the benefit of exerc
All rights reserved