Study Underscores Importance of Each Minute in Workout

Even one full minute of high-intensity workout can make difference in weight loss

For those attempting to win the war over weight gain, recent studies are showing that every little push in the gym or on the track matter, as long as the physical activity puts both the heart and lungs to work.

The new study from the American Journal of Health Promotion noted that University of Utah researchers collected data that showed even small episodes of physical activity that exceeded a particular level of intensity can have overall positive effects. The effects on weight were the most noted within the study, and it showed every minute can count.

“What we learned is that for preventing weight gain, the intensity of the activity matters more than duration,” says Jessie X. Fan, professor of family and consumer studies at the U. “This new understanding is important because fewer than 5 percent of American adults today achieve the recommended level of physical activity in a week according to the current physical activity guidelines. Knowing that even short bouts of ‘brisk’ activity can add up to a positive effect is an encouraging message for promoting better health.”

Currently guidelines for physical activity is that at least 150 minutes of what is considered ‘moderate’ workouts per week are key. That measure comes out to eight separate 10-minute periods wherein the heart and lungs are actively working during bursts of moderate or high levels of exerted energy.

For the average individual that would mean essentially a walking speed of three miles per hour for baseline activity. However, obviously the more extraneous the workout was for the individual, the more the heart and lungs worked, thus the more the individual got out of the effort.

The study made a point to note that high-intensity workouts were associated with lower risks of obesity, whether or not the workouts were greater than 10 minutes or not.

This could be highly important news, especially for women, wherein average physical activity is noted as compared to men. Neither men nor women came close to the weekly 150-minutes when asked to attempt the eight 10-minute stints. However, when adding shorter bouts of high-intensity workouts, men were able to add in 246 minutes per week, while women made it to 144 minutes.


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