Metabolic Syndrome: How Much Exercise?
Moderate Exercise Can Curb Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
Dec. 17, 2007 -- You don't have to run a marathon to curb the symptoms of metabolic syndrome (a
condition which makes
heart disease more likely). Moderate exercise will do.
So say Duke University's Johanna Johnson, MS, and colleagues.
"Our motto in this group, after looking at all the data, is that some
exercise is always better than none, and more is better than less," Johnson
tells WebMD. She's a clinical research coordinator at Duke University Medical
Metabolic Syndrome Study
Johnson's team studied 334 adults with metabolic syndrome.
People with metabolic syndrome have at least three of the following risk
Low levels of HDL
High levels of triglycerides (a type of blood fat)
Elevated glucose (blood sugar)
levels after fasting
When the Duke study started,
participants were 40-65 years old, overweight or obese, and physically
inactive. None had a history of heart disease, diabetes, or
high blood pressure.
Exercise and Metabolic Syndrome
The researchers split participants into four groups:
- Low amount of moderate exercise (equivalent to walking about 12 miles per
- Low amount of vigorous exercise (equivalent to jogging about 12 miles per
- High amount of vigorous exercise (equivalent to jogging nearly 20 miles per
- No exercise
Participants in the exercise group didn't plunge into their workouts. They
spent two to three months working up to their assigned exercise level to avoid
After that, they followed their exercise assignment for six months. They
wore heart rate monitors so that the researchers could monitor their
The exercisers had access to a treadmill, elliptical machine, or stationary
bike at a gym. Some people in the moderate exercise group took brisk walks in
Participants were free to tailor their exercise time to their schedules, as
long as they met their weekly exercise goal. For most people in the moderate
exercise group, that worked out to three hours a week spread over four or five
Participants were asked not to diet or change their eating habits during the