Nutrition Action Healthletter
Jan/Feb 2000 — U.S. Edition 

Exploding Ten Exercise Myths

Try a Selection From Our Myth-O-Matic
No pain, no gain.

“Many people still believe that you have to work at a very high intensity in order to get a benefit,” says the Cooper Clinic’s Steven Blair.
   In fact, moderate-intensity exercise lowers the risk of dying just as much as high-intensity exercise. For example, says JoAnn Manson of the Harvard Medical School, “in the Nurses’ Health Study, women who regularly engaged in brisk walking reduced their risk of heart disease to the same degree as women who engaged in vigorous exercise. You don’t need to run a marathon.”
   The trick is making sure that the exercise is at least moderate-intensity — that is, equivalent to walking at a pace of three to four miles an hour.
   “You can vacuum at a very low pace or at a moderately intense pace,” says Blair. Running or jogging is, by definition, high-intensity. But walking, raking leaves, mowing lawns, dusting, and gardening may be either moderate- or low-intensity.
   High-intensity exercise does have one advantage: it saves time. It takes less time to burn the same number of calories at higher intensity.
   “You can jog for 20 minutes or walk for 40 or 45,” says Blair. “You pay your money and you take your choice.”
   Does all the heart-pounding of high-intensity exercise do anything else for you? “Some things probably respond better to high-intensity and some may respond better to moderate-intensity exercise,” says Blair. “But in general, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of difference as long as you expend the same number of calories.”

Illustrations: Loel Barr

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