Just a couple of months after academics told us that a little walking would help our health, another report says such advice is misleading and we need to huff and puff a little to stave off an early grave.
A gentle walk may not be enough: climbing to Ingleborough's summit plateau will get the lungs going
The study, in Preventive Medicine, says vigorous exercise is the best way to keep healthy, rather than moderate activity such as walking. Researchers from Exeter and Brunel Universities said such pursuits were unlikely to have much of a beneficial effect.
Gary O'Donovan, an exercise physiologist at the University of Exeter, who led the research, said: “Time and time again, the largest and most robust studies have shown that vigorously active individuals live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than moderately active individuals and couch potatoes.
“It is extremely worrying that British adults believe that a brief stroll and a bit of gardening is enough to make them fit and healthy. The challenge now is to amend Britain's physical activity guidelines so that they emphasise the role vigorous activity plays in fighting obesity and disease.”
In August, we reported that scientists at Queen’s University Belfast, had found that half an hour’s brisk walking three times a week improved the health of volunteers in a major research project. Official Government guidance says moderately vigorous exercise should be undertaken five times a week to gain health benefits.
Despite the confused pictures painted by the conflicting reports, the Department of Health said it has no plans to change the recommendations for adult’s exercise.