The largest study to understand the relationship between habitual physical activity and physical fitness was recently concluded by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). This has been the largest study performed to date to analyse habitual physical activity and physical fitness. According to the conclusions by the researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), the higher amount of time spent performing exercise involving moderate to vigorous physical activity for short periods of time and low to moderate level activity such as walking, translated to greater physical fitness.
Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) study involved 2,000 participants from the community for Framingham Heart Study. The2,000 participants underwent comprehensive cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET) to ensure participants meet “gold standard” measurement of physical fitness. The study corelated physical fitness measurements and associations were made with physical activity data obtained through accelerometers, for which devices were used to measures and record frequency and intensity of subject’s movement. Participants had worn the devices for one week around the time of comprehensive cardiopulmonary exercise tests and approximately eight years earlier.
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found dedicated exercise involving moderate to vigorous physical activity was the most efficient at improving fitness when compared to stead moderate workout. It is important to note that the exercise was three times more efficient when compared to walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient in improving fitness when compared to time spent sedentary. Additionally, BUSM researchers found that the greater time spent exercising involving increasing step count daily could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.
According to the Boston University researchers, while the study was focused on the relationship of physical activity and fitness specifically rather than the underlying health conditions or issue of the subject and had ignored health related outcomes. However, when fitness alone is considered, fitness has a powerful influence on both mental and physical health and is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease such as diabetes, cancer and premature death. Nayor, a cardiologist at Boston Medical Centre added that “Improved understanding of methods to improve fitness would be expected to have broad implications for improved health,”