A new study showed that exercising only 12 minutes per week can maintain fitness levels.
But before you rejoice over the news, it turns out those 12 minutes will have to be ultra-intense.
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, found that four-minute bursts of explosive cardiovascular exercise three times a week may be sufficient to keep fit.
Namely, the quick bursts can help elevate oxygen intake, lower blood pressure and reduce glucose levels.
The study looked at 26 overweight, inactive but relatively healthy males over 10 weeks.
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The men were separated into groups and then given different exercise regimes – some shorter but more intense, others longer but less intense.
The groups showed remarkably similar results at the end of the 10 weeks in terms of an increase in oxygen intake and reduction of blood pressure.
The shorter but more intense exercise did not lower cholesterol and body fat as well as the longer duration cardio workout however.
So it’s not a cure-all but it’s a start. But how hard do you have to push?
Researchers say until your heart-rate is at 90-per cent capacity – that’s intense.
“Regular exercise training improves maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), but the optimal intensity and volume necessary to obtain maximal benefit remains to be defined,” researchers wrote.
“A growing body of evidence suggests that exercise training with low-volume but high-intensity may be a time-efficient means to achieve health benefits.”
The research was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
This story was originally published by GlobalPost.
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