Intense exercise can be better for your heart

"Exercising more intensely could improve coronary heart disease beyond that achieved by exercise amount alone," asserts author Paul T. Williams, PhD, in a recent article in the Archives of Internal Medicine. He also says that exercise intensity and amount may target specific coronary health disease risk factors.

Williams and his team of researchers studied 7,059 male and 1,837 female recreational runners.

Those who ran faster (i.e., at greater intensity) had lower blood pressures, triglyceride levels, ratios of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, body mass indexes (calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters), and circumferences of the waist, hips and chest.

They found specifically that running velocity has a 13.3 times greater effect on systolic blood pressure; a 2.8 times greater effect on diastolic blood pressure; a 4.7 times greater effect on waist circumference in men; and a 5.7 times greater effect on systolic blood pressure in women.

In contrast, running distance had a more than sixfold greater effect on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol than running velocity in both sexes.