How Little Exercise Do We Need?

People enjoy exercising as much as they enjoy paying their taxes and getting a colonoscopy. Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, recently gathered several groups of volunteers to determine how little exercise people actually need to stay fit and healthy.

As it turns out, people don’t actually need all that much exercise.

[High Intensity Interval Training] is not ideal or necessary for everyone, said Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster, who’s overseen the high-intensity studies. “If you have time” for regular 30-minute or longer endurance exercise training, “then by all means, keep it up,” he said. “There’s an impressive body of science showing” that such workouts “are very effective at improving health and fitness.”

But if time constraints keep you from lengthier exercise, he continues, consult your doctor for clearance, and then consider rapidly pedaling a stationary bicycle or sprinting uphill for one minute, aiming to raise your heart rate to about 90 percent of your maximum. Pedal or jog easily downhill for a minute and repeat nine times, perhaps twice a week. “It’s very potent exercise,” Dr. Gibala said. “And then, very quickly, it’s done.”

More precisely, people don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of time exercising to obtain the benefits.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Next post:

Previous post: