Some days, it feels like you cannot make it to the gym for 20 minutes, let alone a full hour. Do not sweat it and Even very short bouts of higher-intensity physical activity and we are talking brisk walking-level intensity here and can help keep you at a healthy weight, according to new research published in the journal The Science of Lifestyle Change.
For the study, researchers looked at data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, for which the Centers for Disease Control collected the weights, heights, and activity levels of a nationally representative sample of people. Researchers took 4,511 overweight and obese adults from the survey and split them into into four categories such as those who did more than 10 minutes of higher-intensity physical activity which is defined as anything at least as rigorous as brisk walking at a time; those who did less than 10 minutes of higher-intensity physical activity at a time; those who did more than 10 minutes of lower-intensity physical activity at a time, and those who did less than 10 minutes of lower-intensity physical activity at a time.
Turns out, the shorter bouts of higher-intensity activity were about as effective at lowering participants’ BMIs which is minute for minute as the longer bouts of higher-intensity activity were. Both higher-intensity activity groups also showed a smaller risk of being overweight or obese. Lower-intensity activity, however, was not associated with the same health perks.
“If you can do a minute here, a minute there and as long as it is higher-intensity and it adds up to about 30 minutes, five times a week and it would still have as much of a benefit as doing at least 10 minutes at a time,” says study author Jessie X. Fan, Ph.D., a professor in the department of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah.
Why? While this study didn’t look at mechanism, previous research suggests higher-intensity exercises may rev up your metabolism more—so you keep burning calories and fat even after you stop moving, says Fan.