Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Researchers from the University of Utah have discovered that spending just a few minutes a day on a higher-intensity of physical activity can have positive effects on weight loss.
The scientists wrote in the American Journal of Health Promotion that they found the intensity of the activity matters more than the duration.
“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,” according to Jessie X. Fan, professor of family and consumer studies. “Knowing that even short bouts of ‘brisk’ activity can add up to a positive effect is an encouraging message for promoting better health.”
Doctors recommend people get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per week. This could be accomplished by walking about three miles per hour for eight to 10 minutes periods. However, the researchers say that taking the stairs, parking at the far end of the lot and walking to the store or between errands could make a huge difference in trying to get healthy.
The study shows that a higher-intensity activity was associated with a lower risk of obesity, regardless of whether the physical activity was in increments lower or greater than 10 minutes.
Researchers used a sample study of 2,202 women and 2,309 men between the ages 18- to 64-years-old. They compared measurements of physical activity based on length of time and intensity and separated it into four categories according to the intensity and length of the bouts. The study used body mass index (BMI) to measure weight status, which helps indicate whether or not an individual is obese.
The team found that neither men nor women came close to the weekly 150-minute recommendation with bouts of eight to 10 minutes. However, they did see that when adding shorter bouts of higher-intensity workouts, men exceeded the recommendation on average, accumulating 246 minutes per week. Women didn’t quite hit the 150 minute goal, but they were able to accumulate 144 minutes per week on average.
Researchers said that each minute spent in higher-intensity short bouts was related to a decrease of 0.07 BMI. Each minute offset the calorie equivalent of 0.41 pounds, which means that an average-height woman who regularly adds a minute of brisk activity to her day will weigh nearly a half-pound less.
Men who added even a daily minute of higher-intensity activity lowered the odds of obesity by two percent, while women lowered their odds by five percent.