No time for exercise? New research suggests you may need less time than you think

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Having ‘no time’ is the most common reason individuals quote for not taking exercise, so it can be useful to know of ways in which exercise can be taken in a time efficient manner. In a study published this week in the Journal of Physiology tested two fitness regimes in young men click here. One of these had them engaging in all-out sprints on an exercise bike for 30 seconds at a time, repeating this 4 to 6 times with four minute rest intervals in between. Another group of men we asked to cycle at moderate intensity continuously for 90-120 minutes. Each group performed just 6 exercise sessions over a two week period.

The groups were then tested with cycling time trials, and performed equally well. Changes in the physiology of the individuals showed similar increases in fitness too. What is important about this study is that compared to the ‘endurance’ cyclists 10 ½ hours of exercise, the ‘sprinters’ had a total exercise time of only 2 ½ hours on average. This study suggests that short bursts of high intensity activity may work as well for attaining an maintaining fitness as much longer period of less strenuous activity. Going for the burn might prove a useful strategy for busy individuals who are interested in making the most of their exercise time.

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