Yeah, exercising just one day a week isn’t exactly going to cut it if you’re hoping your gym habit is going to pay off in the long-term.
How much does it take? Take a guess:
If you guessed two to three times a week you’re not totally wrong. But, according to a new study published in The Journal of Physiology, you should really exercise four to five days a week if your life goals involve kicking it like Baddie Winkle well into your golden years.
Here are the receipts: Researchers did a cross-sectional analysis of 102 people (so yes, it’s a small study, which isn’t ideal) who were 60 years old and up, and put them into categories: sedentary (those who did less than two workouts a week), casual exercisers (those who did two to three sessions a week), committed exercisers (those who did four to five sessions), and master athletes (who did six to seven workouts).
The researchers then looked at how stiff their arteries were. (Stiff arteries = higher risk of heart disease, FYI.)
They found that doing casual exercise was good enough to keep your middle-sized arteries—which supply blood to your head and neck—in good shape, but people who fell into the “committed” camp also had good large central arteries—which send blood to your chest and abdomen.
To be fair: Tons of things affect your heart disease risk, including your diet and other lifestyle choices. Plus, this study didn’t look at what kind of exercises participants did, so it’s hard to say if your 30-minute barre classes will help as much as your 30-minute runs.
But still: If you’re building a gym habit, four to five workouts a week is #goals.
Bottom line: If you want to really do your heart health a solid, exercising is one way to help. And working out four to five times a week is the way to go. But if you can’t manage it, striving for two to three sweat sessions a week is a solid start.
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