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San Diego Study: Even Short, Moderate Workouts Impart Health Benefits

A man is seen running on a treadmill, Jan. 5, 2012.

Credit: MilitaryHealth/Flickr

Above: A man is seen running on a treadmill, Jan. 5, 2012.

Workouts don't have to be exhausting or time-consuming to improve your health.

Workouts don't have to be exhausting or time-consuming to improve your health, according to a recent UC San Diego School of Medicine study.

That's the message from a recent study carried out by researchers in San Diego. The scientists had 47 participants walk briskly on a treadmill for 20 minutes.

Even this short, low-intensity bout of exercise was enough to trigger the body’s anti-inflammatory response, as the researchers observed in blood samples taken before and after the exercise sessions.

"Just a brisk walk around your neighborhood can have health benefit," said UC San Diego School of Medicine researcher Suzi Hong, the study's senior author.

Hong notes that other kinds of workouts of varying intensity could also promote different kinds of health benefits. But for this study, she and her colleagues focused on the anti-inflammatory response because it's known to help ward off conditions like diabetes and obesity.

"You can think of it as you're training your body to handle that kind of stress," Hong said.

Hong said it's no surprise to find that exercise boosts health. But she says this study — recently published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity — offers proof on a cellular level that even short, moderate workouts are beneficial.

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