Scientists reported that low levels of weekly exercise would help reduce blood pressure and improve fitness and that walking five days a week was the minimum required to achieve any health benefits. However, the latest research from scientists in Northern Ireland shows that walking on just three days a week may have similar effects to walking five days a week.
These findings may be encouraging especially for those people with sedentary life styles who complain that they don’t have enough time to exercise.

The research included 106 healthy, sedentary civil servants aged between 40 and 61. They were all asked to take part in a 12 week exercise program and assigned into three different groups. The first group was assigned to do 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week, the second just three days a week while the third group did not have to make any life style changes.

At the end of the study, out of 93 people who completed it had their blood pressure, weight and hip circumferences measured and compared to the measurements before the study started.

No changes have been found in the non-walking group while both walking groups experienced significant drop in blood pressure and waist and hip measurements. Improvement in overall fitness has also been seen, it was enough to make a difference to an individual's risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Scientists theorize that exercising three days a week instead of five times a week might be a more achievable target that people could still benefit from.