There's such a thing as too much information. An article released today by The Washington Post states that 30 minutes of exercise a day is not enough for heart failure reduction. The article’s source finds this number needs to quadruple what we’ve previously been told.
Whether this is true or not, I believe most will take away the headline without doing further research, and that headline is damaging: “New study says 30 minutes of exercise a day is not enough. You should double or quadruple that.” I get it. The title sells newspapers and generates linkable content.
But how many people will read that headline and just give up? I'm a 37-year-old male living in the United States. I’m overweight and prone to depression. “I can barely find time in my week to work out of 30 minutes a day, so what’s the point?” Instead of reaching for something attainable, one might give up because what needs to be done is unattainable.
I tried making sense of The Washington Post’s source, a medical journal called Circulation, and I found an interesting fact about the study. Circulation is reporting correlations between exercise and heart failure, not causes. It could very well be that the someone who has time to exercise 2 hours a day has less stress in their life, thus reducing their risk. If you work out for 2 hours a day, what are your eating habits like?
The Washington Post reports that someone who exercises twice or four times a day reduces their risk of heart failure by 20% to 35% respectively, but how can they arrive at that number based on exercise alone, especially when so many other factors are at play?
The information is useful, but my biggest concern is The Washington Post is using the information just to sell advertising. So get out of bed today. Go for a walk or a bike ride, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Make a small change in your life and let that small change work itself into a larger change. Every little bit of positivity you add to your life helps.