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Exercise Improves Metabolic Syndrome in Obese Adults

Moderate-intensity exercise shows more effect than performing at vigorous intensity

MONDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Moderate-intensity exercise for 170 minutes a week -- the equivalent of walking about 12 miles -- can significantly improve metabolic syndrome, which supports the amount that major exercise guidelines recommend, according to research published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Johanna L. Johnson, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues analyzed data from 171 overweight and obese adults who were randomized to one of four groups: low amount/moderate intensity exercise, low amount/vigorous exercise or high amount/vigorous exercise -- all for eight months -- or a control group that remained sedentary for six months.

The low amount/moderate intensity group improved their metabolic syndrome compared to controls, but the low amount/vigorous intensity group did not. This result may be due to the greater percentage of energy derived from fat oxidation during lower intensity exercise, the authors write. In addition, the high amount/vigorous intensity group improved their metabolic syndrome more than all the other groups, indicating an exercise-dose effect.

"Our findings clearly indicate that a modest amount of moderate-intensity exercise is adequate for obtaining significant health benefits. This is an exercise prescription likely to be perceived by the general public and clinicians alike as an obtainable goal. In addition, these data lend support to the 1995 Centers for Disease Control/American College of Sports Medicine (CDC/ACSM) position stand, which states that 'all adults should accumulate 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity most, preferably all, days of the week,'" the authors write.

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