When it comes to exercise, doing the minimum may not be enough. A new study out this week challenges the current minimum exercise guideline of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week, because it does not lead to long-term cardiovascular health.
Researchers followed 5,000 adults in Birmingham, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Oakland for 30 years. Participants began the study as young adults, between 18 and 30 years old, evenly represented among Black, white, male, and female adults.
A whopping 80%-90% of Black participants developed hypertension (blood pressure higher than 130/80 mm Hg) by age 60, and over half of white participants did. Key findings:
- 2.5 hours of weekly exercise did not prevent high blood pressure
- 5+ hours of weekly exercise did protect against hypertension
- Physical activity when young correlates with less cardiovascular disease 30 years later—but activity throughout life was far more protective