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Exercise: How much is enough?

To produce real results during your gym sessions you have to train consistently.

According to exercise physiologist Chris Jordan you have to at least exercise four to five times a week to improve your health. “You have to commit to doing it regularly,” says Jordan. His view is supported by recent research that found that regular exercise was the key to keeping the heart healthy, even into older age. In a study which was recently published in the Journal of Physiology, scientists worked with 102 people over the age of 60 who had recorded their daily exercise history for several decades.

People who participated in the study were divided into different categories based on how frequently they trained. On the lowest end were people who fell into the “sedentary” category – they exercised less than twice a week. On the highest end were those the researchers named “master athletes” who worked out six to seven times per week, or basically every day.

The scientists determined how the study participants’ hearts were performing in terms of the size of their arteries and blood flow to the body. They found that people with healthiest hearts were those who trained four to five times per week.

According to Benjamin Levine, author of the study and professor at the University of Texas, the findings could help people design exercise programmes to become healthier. “We found what we believe to be the optimal dose of the right kind of exercise.” A new study appears to support Levine’s finding after also concluding individuals who trained four to five times per week witnessed significant improvements in heart health compared to those who only did stretching and balancing exercises.

Jordan and Levine both recommend combining regular weight training sessions with cardio such as running on a treadmill, riding a bike or doing performing high-intensity interval training.

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