Short, Intense Exercise Slashes Your Risk of Obesity
You’ve been lectured a million times about taking the stairs instead of the elevator, but now you may actually start doing it.
A study published in the Journal of Health Promotion found that every minute of intense exercise counts – even if it’s for a shorter period of time.
That means, even if you’ve been clocking in up to two hours of moderate exercise at the gym, it may be more effective to intensify your workout and free up your schedule.
The current exercise guidelines encourage 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), like brisk walking, to prevent obesity, and most of Americans don't come close to these standards.
Researchers collected data from more than 2,200 women and 2,300 men who are actively participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The participants were asked to wear accelerometers for seven-day periods in order to track their physical activity.
Their exercise routines were classified into four categories: working out at a high intensity for 10 minutes or more, working out at a high intensity for less than 10 minutes, working out at a low intensity for more than 10 minutes, and working out at a low intensity for less than 10 minutes.
Adding up these short, intense workouts, researchers found out that male participants logged 246 minutes of MVPA while females fit in 144 minutes per week. Results showed that every minute of intense exercise was effective at decreasing the risk for obesity for both men (2 percent) and women (5 percent). And, even more impressive, each minute of MVPA a day was associated with a half a pound of weight loss.
So, what does this mean for your workout routine?
Generally speaking, it’s always a good rule of thumb to not get too comfortable. Do you have a regular workout that you stick to pretty much every time you visit the gym? Change it up!
Make sure to work on different muscle groups and build up your core strength and those muscle groups that serve the whole body. Keep your body confused and always be willing to try new things and really rise to a new and different challenge!
Only have 20 minutes to work out on Tuesday? Go for it – intensely. Sometimes a short, hard workout can be just as effective, if not more so, than a long run.
That’s not to say that you can’t or that you should not go to the gym for long stretches of time; however in a culture where less than five percent of adult Americans get as much exercise as is recommended, maybe keeping our workouts shorter will assure that are able to fit them into our schedule.
As for the days when you can’t make it to the gym: take the stairs, go for a stroll outside, walk home from the bus or train station or convince your hubby to go for a short and speedy bike ride.
The science proves that any time you’re getting your blood pumping and your heart rate increasing, you’re investing in a strong and healthy future with your body.
By: Jen Wolfe
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