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Wearable device study shows the heart health benefits of more intense physical activity

A young woman running in a built up area

Increasing physical activity of any intensity is beneficial for health, but new research published today in the European Heart Journal shows that there is a greater reduction in cardiovascular disease risk when more of that activity is of at least moderate intensity. The study, led by researchers at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre and University of Cambridge, analysed wrist-worn accelerometer-measured physical activity data from more than 88,000 UK Biobank participants.

Current physical activity guidelines from the UK Chief Medical Officers recommend that adults should aim to be active every day, and also that adults should undertake 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity (such as a brisk walk) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (such as running) every week. Physical activity volume is defined as the intensity of the activity multiplied by time, but until recently it has not been clear if overall physical activity volume is what is most important for health, or if more vigorous activity confers additional benefits.