London: Want a long and healthy life? Don`t just plod, but go for short stints of intense exercise daily, says a new study.
Researchers in Denmark have found that intense workouts for shorter periods daily are better for the heart and could add up to an extra five years to someone`s life, the latest edition of the `Hypertension` journal reported.
The Danish study by Bispebjerg University Hospital adds to evidence that moderate exertion, while clearly beneficial, might not be all that is needed to give the best level of protection against cardio vascular disease.
The researchers who monitored the health of 5,000 Danish people in Copenhagen, who cycled regularly for 20 years, found that most benefit was gained from pedaling intensively for short periods.
Men who said they rode fast could expect to live 5.3 years longer than those who said they rode slowly, while for such women the figure was 3.9 years, the findings revealed.
Men who believed they rode at an average speed could expect another 2.9 years of life, and such women 2.2 years.
"It is the intensity, not the duration, of cycling that is of the greatest importance in relation to all forms of mortality, or longevity, and it is even more pronounced for coronary heart disease," `The Daily Telegraph` quoted Peter Schnohr, who led the study, as saying.
The analysis, based on data from the Copenhagen City Heart Study, suggested those who cycled fast for between half an hour and an hour a day were likely to live longest.
Relative to slow cyclists, they had a 56 per cent lower risk of dying overall during the study period, which included a 74 per cent lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease.
The study was based on people without health problems such as hypertension or diabetes, aged 20 to 90.