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GPs urged to change exercise advice

By Ingrid Torjesen

GPs should tell patients to exercise as often as possible rather than the current recommendation to follow 30 mins of moderately strenuous exercise five days a week, according to a new study.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the study says few people meet the offical current Department of Health and NICE recommendations because they say they do not enough time.

But even participating in smaller amounts of regular exercise will have an impact on blood pressure, waistline and fitness levels, it says.

The study, based on observations of more than 100 people, aged between 40 and 60 showed significant benefits even for those who did much less than five times a week.

Researcher Dr Mark Tully from the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Institute at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, said: ‘This study shows short-term benefits of unsupervised home-based walking programmes both at and below the currently recommended minimum target level of exercise.

‘The results may encourage people who feel they do not have time to exercise on five days each week to consider finding time to commit to a lower weekly target of exercise.'

Dr Terry McCormack, chair of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, added: ‘Common sense says that being pedantic about exactly how much you do and how often you do it isn't necessary. What is important is that people go out and do more exercise than they already do.'

Even participating in smaller amounts of exercise will have an effect on waistline Even participating in smaller amounts of exercise will have an effect on waistline

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