The Best Time to Start Moving? Now

We confess. Sometimes, all the perfect specimens wandering through our lives in fitness togs can be a bit intimidating. But perfect is not the enemy of good. And moving – safely, in ways we enjoy – is one thing that is almost always good. Just getting up out of a chair and walking a bit clears the head and helps the body function better.

Likewise, a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine tells us that even one or two “weekend warrior” bouts of physical activity every week are better than nothing. In this study by Gary O’Donovan and colleagues, getting active only a couple of times every week was linked to significantly longer lives. Comparing these weekend warriors to inactive people, they had fewer deaths overall. Deaths specifically due to heart disease and cancer were lower as well.

In an invited commentary, Hannah Arem and Loretta DiPietro both commend this research and remind us that routine active living is important. Many considerations play a role in finding ways to be active that work for each person. O’Donovan reminds us that it’s not just the minutes that count:

Our weekend warrior participants undertook a large proportion of vigorous-intensity physical activity. Quality may be more important than quantity.

The research and detailed guidelines can make your head spin. But what really counts is simple: finding ways to be active. Whether it’s just a short break from sitting to clear your head, a nice long walk, or a vigorous run, it helps.

The very best time to move is now.

Click here for the study and here for the commentary.

Move, photograph © Hernán Piñera / flickr

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


January 11, 2017

One Response to “The Best Time to Start Moving? Now”

  1. January 11, 2017 at 10:41 am, Stephen Phillips / American Association of Bariatric Counselors said:

    As a bariatric practitioner for many years I would often give this advice, “If you have to choose between me and sneakers choose sneakers.”