The Benefits of Exercise Last Longer Than You Think
Before we go on, this is absolutely not an invitation to stop working out. Studies generally show that more exercise leads to better health outcomes – so don’t get ready to rest on the laurels of your previous sweat fests.
But you should know that the workouts you do today may in fact be building up a bank of health that will help your health even when you do stop working out. It’s useful to know if you have to stop due to an injury or travel or a hectic life.
This data comes from a new study that looked at subjects from a study that actually happened ten years ago. In that study hundreds of sedentary subjects between 40 and 60 exercised, according to this article:
Their exercise was either moderate, such as walking, or more vigorous, comparable to jogging, and lasted until people had burned at least several hundred calories per workout. Volunteers completed three session of their assigned workout each week for eight months, while scientists tracked changes to their aerobic fitness, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and waist circumference.
There was improvement for those not in the control group, and then it was over… until they were contacted again and over a hundred people came back in for tests.
Those from the control group had gained weight and lost aerobic capacity, whereas those who did moderate or intense workouts showed better health profiles. Again from the article:
But those men and women who had exercised vigorously for eight months…retained substantially more fitness. On average, their aerobic capacity had fallen by only about 5 percent… and those few who reported still exercising at least four times a week were more fit now than they had been a decade before.
Those who walked… “meaning their exercise had been moderate, not intense — did not seem to have enjoyed the same lasting fitness benefits as those who had exercised more vigorously. Most of them had shed about 10 percent of their aerobic capacity during the past decade, much like the controls. On the other hand, they showed surprisingly persistent improvements in their metabolic health, more so than among the intense exercisers…They had also had relatively healthier metabolisms than the men and women who had exercised intensely all those years before.”
This means two things — you can quibble about whether intense or moderate exercise is going to be better in the long-run, but more importantly exercising, no matter when, means great things for you even if you happen to stop.
But, again, do not stop.