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Let's Get Physical

We all know that a large chuck of the adult population isfar too sedentary, and research has shown that even modest amounts of physical activity can provide significant health benefits. Another study has similar results, but gives insight to how little is actually needed by sedentary adults.

The current guideline is 150 minutes or more of moderate activity each week (just over 20 minutes daily). Although the 150-minute goal is still ideal, the authors say, it may be a barrier to the most sedentary and to some older people. In fact, it may take far less than 150 minutes to achieve a significant reduction in mortality risk in sedentary people, they wrote.

Data over the last 2 decades shows that those who are sedentary are the least responsive to recommendations for increased physical activity. Across the US population, the percentage of people engaging in no physical activity has remained stable, at 25%, between 1996 and 2014, while people who were active became more active (with the number of people who participate in sufficient physical activity rising from 22% in 1996 to 51.6% in 2014).
Aside: Another recently published study showed that too much sitting is associated with increased all-cause mortality, as well as higher mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Sitting is also associated with a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. This other study showed that this is true for even those who exercise--so while exercise and physical activity is great, not sitting too long is even better (you don't have to "exercise," just MOVE!).

This new study analyzed accelerometer data from 7000 adults, aged 20 to 79 years, in the US. The data shows low levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity in all age groups, with only the youngest adults, ages 20 to 29 years, reaching the recommended 30 minutes of exercise daily. At the same time, the study found that all adults sat longer than 7 hours a day, the amount identified in earlier research as being associated with increased mortality. The youngest people (aged 20 to 29 years) sat 7.7 hours daily, and the oldest group (70 to 79 years) sat 9.6 hours daily. A study in the United Kingdom found similar results.

"Small incremental increases in physical activity should be promoted in a slowly progressive manner to maximise health benefits and minimise potential adverse effects," one researcher writes, while another advises that exercise recommendations focus on introducing light activity throughout the day, increasing light activities by 30 minutes daily, and reducing prolonged sitting by suggesting standing or strolling 1 or 2 minutes every hour. People could be advised to get up from their chair during commercials, pace during telephone conversations, and take 5-minute walks three times a day.

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Source: Recommendations for physical activity in older adults

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  1. Hi Lee, I just finished your epic book, which i ordered after researching mitochondrial health and unexplained infertility. I also read this article, which mentions that HIIT exercise might be better than moderate exercise when it comes to mitochondrial biogenesis. I'd love to read your thoughts on this, as I'm keen to optimise my mitochondrial function ahead of IVF but don't want to overdo it. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.newscientist.com/article/2123825-best-anti-ageing-exercise-is-high-intensity-interval-training/amp/

    Ps: great book! Loved the humour, which made the dry subject palatable. Julie

    1. Hi Julie, and thanks for the kind words on the book! :)

      I haven't been active on this blog in about a year, but if I remember correctly I think I covered at least one study on HIIT.

      I've come across some great studies on HIIT that have been published since my book was launched, so I agree, it's the ideal way to exercise...and especially for those looking to make the best use of the limited exercise time they may have. In fact, HIIT will be making an appearance in the updated edition of my book (estimated publishing date is early 2018).

      My guess is that we'll see more and more studies on HIIT being published. Best of luck with your IVF treatments.


  2. Thanks for the reply Lee, much appreciated and good to read you concur in HIIT. The advice I'd been given by GPs and traditional IVF practitioners was to keep exercise moderate, but without clear explanation why so I'd been skeptical. I've switched to HIIT and feel like it can only help with egg quality if it helps with mitochondrial functions. Let's see if it helps! Looking fwd to the revised edition. Julie

    1. HIi Julie, I agree moderation is key, but I don't think HIIT is too intense. If I had to guess, I'd say the recommendation to keep exercise moderate is in comparison to this intense training that professional athletes go through. In these cases, the level of physical activity and exertion alters hormones, etc (and why it's not uncommon for elite female athletes to have their menstrual cycles thrown off, like missed periods, etc.)


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