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Activity Bursts Yield Big Benefits

Daily VILPAs Lower Death Risks

vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity

By John Salak –

Anyone not into VILPA might want to reconsider their priorities, especially if they’re looking to live longer than the average joe.

No, VILPA isn’t a far-right or far-left conspiracy. It’s not a religious sect or cult. VILPA doesn’t involve drugs of any kind, either. It does, however, describe physical activities for those who don’t like playing sports or hanging at the gym but wouldn’t mind the benefits exercise brings.

VILPA stands for vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity, and it involves three to four one-minute bursts of huffing and puffing during daily tasks. These activities could be running for a bus, playing with kids, lugging boxes around, power walking to catch up with someone, doing yard work or any other energy bursts.

Don’t scoff. The health benefits of three to four VILPAs daily are significant, according to the University of Sydney.

The researchers announced that daily VILPAs are associated with up to a 40-percent reduction in all-cause and cancer-related mortality. They may reduce cardiovascular disease deaths up to a 50-percent.

“Our study shows similar benefits to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) through increasing the intensity of incidental activities done as part of daily living, and the more, the better,” reported Emmanuel Stamatakis, the lead author of the university’s study.

The researchers also noted that their work reveals how incidental physical activity is one way to get the benefits of regular workouts without working out.

“A few very short bouts totaling three to four minutes a day could go a long way, and there are many daily activities that can be tweaked to raise your heart rate for a minute or so,” Stamatakis explained. “Upping the intensity of daily activities requires no time commitment, no preparation, no club memberships, and no special skills. It simply involves stepping up the pace while walking or doing the housework with a bit more energy.”

While any increase in the intensity and number of daily VILPAs is a plus, the study noted: “larger benefits were found with larger VILPA amounts, suggesting the more, the better.”

The specific VILPA concept may be new, but it has already attracted lots of attention if additional research has yet to surface to support its benefits. Newsweek, The Independent, and Fox News, among other media outlets, have already hailed the university’s findings.

The research has even gotten qualified backing from other academics. Professor David Stensel, Loughborough University in Britain, called the work “important and provocative,” noting it should encourage more studies on the potential health benefits of these activities.

The research by Australians underscores there are great options for those who disdain structured workouts. “It fits with existing evidence that vigorous physical activity is associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality. It moves the field forward by showing that this applies to unstructured forms of vigorous physical activity in people who report being non-exercisers,” Stensel stressed.





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