The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Facts on exercise intensity

- Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

Robert Pattinson went through very high-intensity preparatio­n for his role in “Good Time.” He says he, “lived in the same basement apartment [as the character] in Harlem. I never opened my curtains, didn’t change the sheets the entire time I was there ... and I would sleep in my clothes.”

That may be a good plan if you’re hoping for an Oscar, but it may not improve your health.

One study published in Circulatio­n followed 289 middleaged guys for around six years to assess the impact of low-, moderate-, high-, and veryhigh-intensity exercise on their cardiovasc­ular health. Their results? The guys doing very high-intensity exercise ended up with more calcium deposits in their coronary arteries — a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. But calcium deposits aren’t as risky as lipid (fat) deposits, and the researcher­s didn’t explore how exercise intensity affected those artery blockers (what if it improved them?). All we know is that men who regularly exercised at a moderate or simply intense level had the least amount of calcified plaque.

Another study, published in Nature, says that if you do around 30 minutes of moderate/vigorous aerobics using one set of muscles (say, cycling) before doing strength training in which you use a different set of muscles (upper body) that significan­tly benefits your strength-training muscles.

The bottom line: Research shows you can significan­tly improve your health with 300+ minutes of moderate and sometimes-vigorous aerobics and two strength-training sessions weekly (with that bit of aerobics first). The reward: You’ll increase your healthy longevity by about eight years.

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestseller­s. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email questions@ GreatAgeRe­

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