September 06, 2013
Brief Episodes Of Intense Exercise Beneficial

You do not need to commit to long work-out periods to get a health benefit.

To win the war against weight gain, it turns out that every skirmish matters as long as the physical activity puts your heart and lungs to work.

In a new study published today in the American Journal of Health Promotion, University of Utah researchers found that even brief episodes of physical activity that exceed a certain level of intensity can have as positive an effect on weight as does the current recommendation of 10 or more minutes at a time.

"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."

What would help: put heavy duty work-out machines in small rooms in work places. Someone could go for just 2 or 3 minutes and do something highly aerobic and also intense for the muscles.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 September 06 11:41 AM 


Comments
Albert said at September 7, 2013 6:29 AM:

Is there anything in the study that distinguishes between the following two theories that both fit the facts? Theory 1: Brisk activity leads to lower BMI. Theory 2: People with low BMI are more likely to engage in brisk activity.

The summary that you linked to appeared to be an observational study that associated periods of brisk activity with lower BMI. I didn't see anything in it that causally linked brisk activity to lower BMI. In fact if I had to guess, it is far more likely that Theory 2 above is true on the basis that people with higher BMI's are simply unable (and are less willing) to perform brisk activity.

I would really like their interpretation (Theory 1) to be true, but didn't see anything in the summary that would cause me to favor it. Do you know of anything in the actual study (not the summary) that would make me think that Theory 1 is more likely to be true than Theory 2?

Tim Hogan said at September 9, 2013 8:50 PM:

I have a BMI of 33 - definitely in the obese range - 73 inches x 250 lbs. However I have managed to maintain quite a bit of muscle after 54 years by realizing that I will lose most of that if I don't weight machine train at least once every 2 weeks for 15 minutes flat out and to muscle exhaustion - anaerobic. That is all it takes. If I skip that tiny amount of exertion the usual knee and back pain plus that nagging feeling of feeling my age creeps in. Currently that takes around 6 months. It seems like it has taken decades for accumulating evidence to point to quick, hard weight lifting being the cure for a lot of what ails you - just minutes a week. There is one other variable to consider. Most people dislike intense weight training because of the muscle pain afterwards. There are nutraceutical ways to avoid that which will be the topic of a few studies in 10 years or so. The standard BMI chart is bogus anyway. Its easy to have a BMI of 33 and be far short of obese by just not loosing "most" of the muscle you had when you were 20.

Toddy Cat said at September 10, 2013 10:48 AM:

Bob Orban, the "RCAF Exercise" guy, was touting the benefits of short, intense exercise back in 1960. So, once again, as with so many issues, we actually knew the truth half a century ago, then promptly forgot it in the comprehensive lunacy of the late 1960's and 1970's.

Three cheers for Progress!

Phillep Harding said at September 11, 2013 9:52 AM:

Old cannery worker trick: If you have aches from a hard workout the day before, a small shot of strong vinegar, taken straight, will kill the pain. Cannot be diluted, cannot be mixed with food, just a single, small shot of strong vinegar.

It starts working as soon as it hits the back of the throat, which seems very strange, but I've sure been glad of it.

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