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Exercise needs 'misleading'

10th October 2007

A new study has suggested that many people in Britain incorrectly think that taking moderate exercise is as good for their health as vigorous activities.

healthyliving1The study's results suggest that government guidelines recommending 30 minutes of moderate activity every day may have been misunderstood.

Dr Gary O'Donovan, who lead the study, said: "It's extremely worrying that British adults now believe that a brief stroll and a bit of gardening is enough to make them fit and healthy."

He indicated that more strenuous activities such as jogging offered people "maximal protection from disease."

Almost 1,200 people participated in the study, which was carried out by teams from Exeter and Brunel Universities. About 50% of the male participants and 75% of the female participants thought moderate exercise had the best effect on health.

The study, published in Preventive Medicine, indicated that vigorous exercise provided the most health benefits.

Current NHS guidelines say that brisk walking, gardening or "swimming a few laps" can have a positive impact on health.

Paul Gately, professor of exercise and obesity at Leeds Metropolitan, stated that it was hard to come up with "one size fits all" exercise recommendations, as one person's strenuous activity would seem moderate to another.

A Department of Health spokesperson said that government recommendations were formulated by "a team of academics and expert advisers" and they had "no plans" to change the existing advice.



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