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Higher incomes connected to more exercise, less movement

People with higher incomes get more exercise – on the weekends. Despite high-intensity exercise a couple days a week, however, they’re more likely to spend time in sedentary activities.

At least, those are the findings of a new study conducted by researchers from the American Cancer Society, Georgia State University and University of Texas Health Science Center.

The scientists used activity monitors to track how much physical activity study participants were getting on a daily basis. They reported a correlation between income and daily activity.

“Our findings pertaining to income and the ‘weekend warrior’ effect underscore the importance of tailoring the physical activity message to reflect the constraints of both low and high income individuals,” said Dr. Kerem Shuval of the American Cancer Society, who co-authored the study.

Study participants earning lower incomes got less high-intensity physical activity, but also spent much less time in sedentary activities. 

Low-income individuals were less likely to work in office jobs or other sedentary fields, but they also had less access to gym facilities or park space, as well as less flexible schedules. Those earning higher incomes could exercise more easily, but were more likely to have office jobs and sedentary lifestyles.

But studies using the activity monitors have found that regardless of income, fewer than 5 percent of American adults get the recommended amount of physical activity each week.

“To meet guidelines one can engage in 150 minutes of weekly moderate intensity activity over a 2 or 3-day period rather than 7 days, for example. This can be achieved over a long weekend, a message we may want to convey to those pressed for time,” Shuval said.

Following these exercise guidelines can help to reduce the risk of a number of preventable illnesses and health conditions, according to the researchers.

The study has been published in the journal Preventive Medicine.  

By Kyla Cathey, staff writer

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