Short exercise bouts as effective as long session

October 23, 2001 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Sports Nutrition and Exercise

Short exercise bouts as effective as long session

Individuals who forego exercise for lack of time may need to find a new excuse.

According a new study, short bursts of activity are just as effective as one long session when it comes to burning calories, losing weight and improving aerobic fitness.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin examined the effects of three 10-minute bouts of exercise, two 15-minute bouts, one 30-minute session or no exercise in 30 overweight, female college students over a 12-week period.

The women in the study, who had a body mass index (BMI) of at least 28, were put on a calorie-restricted diet.

A person with a BMI of 25 or more is considered to be overweight, and one whose BMI is at least 30 is classified as obese. (Use Leslie's Body Mass Index Calculator to determine your BMI.) 

The results show that aerobic capacity increased while BMI and body fat declined significantly in all exercising groups.

Body weight and body fat increased in the women who did not exercise.

These findings add to a growing body of research on the beneficial effects of short periods of activity. One recent study found that 10 minutes of moderate exercise daily improved mood and reduce fatigue.

Another study reported that just 2 minutes of stair climbing several times a day could lower total cholesterol, raise HDL ("good") cholesterol, and improve the resting pulse rate in sedentary young women.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.