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  • Coacervate

    OK, lets exercise…but I don’t understand what is meant by “walking for an hour a day” for exercise. That leaves the rest of the day during which i will be doing stuff. Doesn’t that contribute too? My wife-like-object tells me that I don’t exercise ….yeah but but I work a 6 hour day in my shop, mostly standing benchwork and walking around. Add it all up and I sure feel like I’ve been active by the end of day. She wants to go take a walk …out in the world on the side of the road … populated by poison spewing cars driven by drugged, phone-addicted over-scheduled hemor…, i mean humanoids. Have to stop and talk to a neighbor. by the time its all over I’m searching for the whisky bottle she keeps hiding in a new spot. Exercise? Like kale i will.

    • LynnCS

      I don’t understand anyone having to have someone go with them when they walk. It’s actually better to be in your own thoughts and go your own speed, I think. It’s a walk, not a visit!

      • Coacervate
      • Susan

        What if you cannot walk unassisted. I fractured various ribs in my lumbar spine many times and can only walk with a rollator to keep me upright…I can walk better with someone than alone . Problem is I am so slow!

        • Elaine

          For me, having someone to walk with helps me a little with getting out, as i have a really hard time with being out in public and being seen ‘Scopophobia’. I prefer a treadmill but am unable to have one cause of the place we live.

      • Sue Moseley

        I’ve been very ill this last year and I have got to the point where I do not feel safe taking a walk on my own. Even when I was well enough there were plenty of places I’d like to walk, but wouldn’t feel safe walking alone. Having been attacked in the past there are places that feel out of bounds for me now unless I have someone with me.

  • Fred

    Watching this video while walking on my treadmill at my stand-up desk. Thanks for all you do Dr. Greger!

    • Adrien

      I actually just figured out how to make my desk a standing desk yesterday. I’ve put my weight bench on my desk and my keyboard and mouse on top of it. :) The Greger revolution is coming !

      • Veganrunner

        Look at that!

        • Adrien


      • Thea

        Adrien: Clever idea and nice shot!

        I found out that I have an adjustable desk. So, instead of making the desk very small, I expanded the legs to make it very tall. But I don’t think it will go high enough to accommodate a walking treadmill–my ultimate goal. Based on what I read about some walking treadmills, I would have to get another 5 or 6 inches high on the standing desk. Your post has given me some ideas on how I might be able to use my existing desk and a walking treadmill. Thanks!

        FYI: I’ve been using a standing desk since mid December. My feet get a bit tired, but over all, I love it.

      • Nice library!

      • Patricia Powers-Williamson

        how cool!

  • Tobias Brown

    Very pertinent presentation here. On the other end, what about the max amount of beneficial exercise for those of us tending toward athletes. At what point do the benefits of exercise go negative? If I recall correctly, Jack Lalanne recommended 2 hours per day. Also, what’s a good split in the types of exercise. Some division between cardio, weights, & yoga (stretch & coordination)?

    • Darryl

      CrossFit and spinning practitioners and even collegiate football players, who push to exhaustion then repeat, can suffer exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis. For aerobic exercise, there are issues with myocardial fibrosis, atrial fibrillation, and increased atherosclerosis among marathon runners. One large study indicated the optimum level of running for overall mortality reduction is 5-20 miles/week, speeds of 6-7 miles/hour, and frequencies of 2-5 days/week. The Copenhagen City Heart study found the greatest benefit in those jogging at a slow to average pace, for one to 2.5 h per week total, accumulated during two or three sessions.

      • Daniel Wagle

        Is it that prolonged HIGH intensity exercise is not necessarily better, or is it that there is still a harm in doing prolonged moderate intensity exercise? And how much of the harm in doing a lot actually due to coronary artery disease that many middle aged people have? With plaque buildup, the heart has to work much, much harder and there is more of a limit to how much a person can do. I have seen that with my partner, who had two stents put a year and a half ago. Even now, he still can’t run like he used to. He can do brisk walks, however. If lets say marathon running always shortens one’s life, then how come there are 100 year old persons who have completed marathons? I bicycle everyday, usually at least 2 hours and it has done nothing but good for my health. I can do this much, since I ride my bike to work and this makes it more time efficient. My HDL is now 82, when it used to less than 20. My LDL is not 85 and I used to take 40 milligrams of Crestor. I have no atrial fibrillation, either. The exercise helped me to lose 100 pounds and it helps, to completely maintain this weight loss, along with a plant based diet and calorie control.

        • Darryl

          The long distance runners still had lower mortality than sedentary folk, but not as low as more moderate runners.

          Another paper from the Copenhagen study found a somewhat difference response for cycling:

          For both sexes we found a significant inverse association between cycling intensity and risk of all-cause and coronary heart disease death, but only a weak association with cycling duration. The difference in expected lifetime in relation to intensity of cycling was calculated. Men with fast intensity cycling survived 5.3 years longer, and men with average intensity 2.9 years longer than men with slow cycling intensity. For women the figures were 3.9 and 2.2 years longer, respectively.

          Ie, among cycling commuters, faster is better, but duration wasn’t important. I suspect there may be some reverse causation at play here (the healthier are faster). We don’t have data for endurance cycling with exertions more comparable to marathon and ultramarathon running.

          • Daniel Wagle

            I do *some* high intensity bicycling, such as going up steep hills, but I don’t ride as hard as I can everyday for two hours straight. Some high intensity exercise is good, but doing it for long periods of time may be questionable. I found that longer bike rides were more effective for controlling my weight than bicycling a shorter distance but going as fast as I could. On the longer rides, I also go up more hills and therefore add intensity. Of course, transitioning to a plant based diet has also helped for my weight. Weight control is a big bonus to doing a lot of exercise. Doing only 2.5 hours a week that many studies suggest doing is not effective for weight control, in my experience. Maybe there is less of an additional benefit to doing more exercise if a person doesn’t need to do it for weight control.

      • Aaron Kester

        The study you cited showing increased atherosclerosis was only compared to a matched control group that in order to be matched likely lived an overall healthier lifestyle, it does not actually show in any way that running caused atherosclerosis. I guarantee if you do a study taking people from two matched groups at the start of the experiment and make half of them exercise and the other half not, the exercise group will show decreased plaque volume and lesions. Most likely all this study shows is that diet is more important than exercise in terms of heart health, if that. Cause really it doesn’t even measure events, just a marker.

        • Darryl

          In another study, it appeared marathon running had no effect on plaque volume, compared to non-running domestic partners (who presumably had similar diets).

          From my readings, it looks like aerobic exercise has cardiac benefits through inducing mild anoxia and encouraging collateral vascularization, reducing obesity (and adipose cytokine secretion), and other systemic effects through AMPK activation; but it doesn’t have the profound effects of reducing endothelial inflammation that a healthy diet does. The plaques still build, but there’s enough collateral flow that the consequences of a single clot are less.

          • Veganrunner

            Good morning Darryl,

            Where you get the time. Yes here is the conclusion from the above study.

            “Conclusions Habitual endurance exercise improves the cardiovascular risk profile, but does not reduce the magnitude of carotid atherosclerosis associated with age and cardiovascular risk factors.”

            Exercise does so much:

      • Tobias Brown

        I wonder what those serious athletes burn for calories on average per day on a weekly basis. This might be a good starting point to gauge what we mere mortals might shoot for as a max daily calorie burn target. My 1:15 hrs bike ride which includes a long hill section evidently burns 700-800 calories. It’s mostly pure fun though I try to keep the intensity up. That really takes the pressure off when meting out food portions to myself. :) Would really love to see some data on the “that’s enough!” ranges.

  • LynnCS

    OK…I’ve always been told a half hour a day and I’m resistant to that. Now, it’s an hour? Lately I get home and realize I’ve done about 40 min. That’s great, but I thought it was more like an hour or more. Jeeze! This is tough and I still have to do my weights. Every day? Oooookaaaay! I’ll try, but don’t think I can do it. This is hard stuff!

  • Lenny

    I was suspicious that the amount of walking needed to burn 1000 calories that Dr. Greger cited was higher than actually needed. Looking it up, I read that someone weighing 150 pounds walking a normal pace (3 miles per hour) for 60 minutes would burn 250 calories. So, it’s only necessary to do 4 hour-long sessions a week- or 5 walks of not quite 2 1/2 miles per day. Plus, the calories burned are proportionally greater if you weigh more than 150 pounds. People will get discouraged if you cite the higher amount of exercise, but I think they’ll be a little more inclined to exercise the smaller amount. For example, I often walk a mile to the nearest bus stop and a mile back to my home plus perhaps half a mile walking around during the course of my daily activities. I’ll have to start wearing a pedometer to be sure. This, I think, will not only gives me sufficient exercise but it saves a lot of money on gas and car maintenance and it’s great for the environment.

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    Actually I dont understand people who do not exercise – you feel better, you look better, you sleep better, you have more energy – everybody who exercise on a regular basis, know what I mean – and it adds quality years to your life, and if you combine exercise with a mainly plantbased diet, you have a win win situation.

    • Julot Julott

      Problem is when you dont feel good, you have zero motivation to exercise~

      • Penny

        You are so right Julot. That is why I think it is important for those who won’t feel well to get the nutrition right first. The energy and motivation to move around and do stuff will follow.

        • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

          No doubt that diet is more important than exercise, so if you dont do both, choose the diet.

          • Daniel Wagle

            Exercise sure helped me to lose 95 pounds and get off Statin drugs. However, going to a plant based diet helped me to lose 5 more pounds and lower my cholesterol even further. I think it is not good to do “Just” one thing, either diet OR exercise but rather do both. I don’t advocate exercise alone, either, even if a person can lose weight by exercise alone. Jim Fixx is an example of someone who lost 80 pounds by running 80 miles a week, but apparently did not improve his diet and died of a heart attack. jack Lalanne, on the other hand did both exercise and healthy diet and lived to be 96. He even flirted with a plant based diet. I am constantly improving my diet, but because I exercise so much, I can eat more healthy foods and not gain weight. Healthy diet is everything, but exercise eliminates the need for “dieting,” that is low calorie diets. It is difficult to get all of one’s nutrients on a low calorie diet. I can eat 5 or 6 ounces of nuts everyday and not gain a pound, because I exercise so much. So done right, exercise enables a person to eat a better diet- more higher calorie, high nutrient plant foods. I try not to eat anything of animal origin, as much as I can.

          • Julot Julott

            Mainly what i did few years ago when i was very sick~
            It is easy to eat when you are hungry but not easy to exercise when you have no will or energy because you feel bad and are sick~
            And if you are not hungry you can even fast for a while and see how it goes~

      • Veganrunner

        Julot start small. Just put those shoes on and walk out the door. Go a few houses or a block and turn around. Don’t think about starting with a half hour. Just start with a block. It will actually make you feel better. And you get to pat yourself on your shoulder for doing it.

        • Thea

          Veganrunner: I totally support this approach as once upon a time, I used it myself. I was at point in my life where I never exercised and the idea of it was nauseating. I decided to set my watch for a 5 minute walk of any pace. 5 minutes out. 5 minutes back. I forced myself to do that every day and built on on the time and speed from there. While I have back slidded quite a bit from my peak fitness level, at one point, I was able to easily walk a hard hour with half of up a steep uphill, or do a slowish half-marathon flat walk. All from starting that initial tiny baby step.

          A 10 minute walk will seem like nothing to many people. It didn’t seem like much to me either at the time. But that was the point. I wasn’t intimidated nor was it beyond what I could do comfortably. I got a nice sense of accomplishment for doing it, and that feeling of success made it possible for me to keep going.

          Your idea of starting with just a block is the same basic idea. For some people, I think this is a great approach.

          • Veganrunner

            And in the end we feel better. Even if you feel horrible when first lacing up those shoes-exercise works magic on our attitudes.

            It is just getting started that is so mentally challenging.

          • Stewart

            Great observation Thea. My wife was pretty much out of the picture with exercise many years ago. She started because of her nerves with just a run around the block. A few years later she finished the New York Marathon in 3:23. Now at age 67 she teaches 8 dance fitness classes per week and runs about 20 miles per week.

            You don’t start with a marathon and expect to continue any exercise.

          • Thea

            Stewart: Thanks for sharing. Thanks an inspiring story!

        • Julot Julott

          Thank you but i do exercise now that i’m better, but when i was very sick i had no energy neither motivation for exercise, diet change fixed it in months then i had energy and i’m getting more and more~

    • Jess

      Do you think that is a little self-centered? I exercise most days but I feel fortunate that my kushy lifestyle and health (both physical and psychological) allows for it. Some people have terrible depression, are struggling with poverty, incredible stress, have injuries, health problems, etc. You just don’t know what someone else’s challenges and obstacles are unless you’ve lived them yourself. Everyone wants to feel good and is doing the best they can with the hand they are dealt. Count yourself lucky but don’t think everyone has the same experience as you.

    • Jess

      It irks me when people lack the imagination to empathize with others who are different from themselves. Yes, exercise has amazing benefits – I exercise most days – but I feel fortunate that my life circumstances and health (both physical and psychological) allow for it. Some people have terrible depression, are struggling with poverty, chronic stress, have injuries, health problems, low self-esteem, unfavorable social influences, etc., etc… You just don’t know what someone else’s challenges and obstacles are unless you’ve lived them yourself. Everybody wants to feel good and is doing the best they can with the hand they are dealt. Count yourself one of the lucky ones and try to be more understanding that it’s not equally easy for everyone.

  • DGH

    Like Tobias, I am curious as to the point at which diminishing gains and increasing harms starts to outweigh the benefits of regular physical exercise. I agree one ideally needs to exercise every day, but at what point do the attendant risks of over-exertion, e.g. atrial fibrillation, myocardial hypertrophy, subclinical myocardial damage, muscle strain, electrolyte depletion, and other injuries, outweigh all the benefits of exercise. And what type of exercise to do – functional, cardiovascular, resistance training, yoga, or just brisk walking? I have my biases on this – I think all of the above, in a diverse mixture, with varying the routine each day, is the best blend for total fitness.

    • Penny

      I suppose it depends on what your goal is as to what the best fitness blend would be. This video seems to point mainly to walking. For most people, I would guess that there isn’t really a point at which you’ve done so much walking that you will start to do damage to yourself, especially if you are eating a healthy diet.

  • Cathy

    Love all of Dr. Greger’s videos. And I am glad that they are captioned as it makes it easier to catch the information when you can read while you hear him speak. My question is whether there is some way to avoid having the captions cover up all the graph type information he displays in the videos? For example, I have tried going to full screen as a solution, but for some reason the captions just get full screen and continue to block a view of whatever journal article data he is also highlighting. Is there some way to fix this? Perhaps so that going into full screen would keep captioning, so that it remains at a readable font but does not go full screen?

    • Thea

      Cathy: I’m not seeing captions myself. So, I’m thinking that the caption business is a YouTube feature which can be turn on or off, but probably not adjusted. Or if it can be adjusted, that would be a YouTube feature, not something that NutritionFacts has control over.

      That’s just my guess.

    • marthala

      Cathy, when the video starts, hover your cursor over the video, look at the bottom right of the video screen: you will see CC (in line with pause/resume button, volume, youtube, etc.. Click on CC and you will be given the choice to have captioning on or off. An alternative to the captioning is to read the transcript first, then view the video.

  • largelytrue

    Just doing a rough surface-level calculation, but assuming a waking day of 17 hours, 5 hours per week amounts to about 14 days, and if done over, say, 50 years, the total amounts to about 1.9 waking years. A closer analysis in terms of healthspan and the pleasures of habitual exercise may be needed in order to make the case compelling for many people.

  • BennyB

    Work as well as Kale? Hale no! Thanks, I’m here all night.

  • Lydia

    The New York Times, June 4th, had a nice article about exercise and how one thinks about it may have an effect, Losing Weight May Require Some Serious Fun.

  • jjjimmy1

    Question about seaweed-does anyone know if there have been any studies to see if it has absorbed any radiation from the Fukushima incident?

  • Rita

    sure would be interesting to require drug trials to compete with diet therapy for various conditions.

  • Sebastian Tristan

    Can you exercise too much, though? In addition to walking for long periods of time, I basically exercise daily. Often, I have two workouts in a day and, some days, I do it 3 times a day.

  • lovestobevegan

    How to make a kale and onion sandwich that much better…add homemade hummus.

    You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato Hummus

    -2 cups cooked* chickpeas
    -1/3 cup water/homemade vegetable broth
    -zest of lemon
    -1 lemon, peeled
    -3 cloves garlic, peeled
    -1 large ripe tomato, chopped
    -2 tsp cumin

    Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Adjust water to
    achieve desired consistency. The hummus will thicken once refrigerated.

    *If using canned beans select those packaged in BPA-free cans such as
    Eden Organic brand.

    ~complements of plant-based emporium

  • TR M

    Weight training once a week is very important. Not only for the obvious benefits of maintaining muscle mass and bone density but

    all 10 of the biomarkers of ageing are improved.

  • Matthew Elswick

    I like the message but it wouldn’t hurt to sober up before narrating a video.

  • Max22

    In Austria practically ALL doctors recommend exercise, they have no problems with that. But when it comes to diet, they would not dare to mention to eat less eggs or cheese. This would mean seriously upset clients. Maybe they would even burn the cars and houses of doctors?

  • Sue Moseley

    Is walking for 15 minutes four times a day as good as walking for 1 hour once a day? I can’t manage an hour due to pain and weakness, but I’m desperate to get fit. Will several short walks do the same job?

    • Joan E, RD-NF Volunteer

      Any exercise is better than none! I have seen in multiple places that shorter bursts of exercise through the day may be beneficial as it revs up your metabolism several times.. You can often exercise at a higher intensity in shorter intervals and achieve the same fat burning effect as if exercising for long term but lower intensity. If you are taking a shorter 15 minute walk, try to power it up (walk briskly, add a hill, light jog) for 30-45 seconds, 4-5 times during your walk. I also saw your comment earlier about not feeling safe walking on your own.. In my town, we have a FleetFeet store that offers weekly group exercise (walks, runs, etc).. Maybe you would have that in your community. It is a great way to meet people and you would likely find an exercise buddy. Also, you can try going to a mall and walking the mall. Many malls open early for mall walkers. There are some great free online exercise videos as well that may offer some variety.. One of my favorites is FitnessBlender, they have a great variety of exercise videos for all levels. Hope this helps!!

      • Sue Moseley

        Thanks for this. Jogging is out of the question, but I will try to add some short bursts of higher intensity – great idea. I try and find out if there are any walking groups available for people who are also limited in what they can do.