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Benefits of the super short workout

An 'exercise snack' of one minute of brisk walking followed by a minute of strolling six times has shown in one study to do more benefit than a 30-minute continuous walk.

Walking in quick bursts for a short period of time can prolong your life, according a several new studies. Short walks with quick bursts of interval-style exercise are better for the body than a continuous 30-minute walk, according to one of the more recent studies.

Called “exercise snacks,” these short, intense walks were popular with subjects in the study, who said they were more likely to continue the routine when the research was done.

Another study shows how running for five minutes can add years to your life. Another touts seven-minute workouts as a way to build up energy and fight disease.

The most recent study tracked participants during three brief sessions per day. The 12-minute walks consisted of one minute of brisk walking followed by a minute of strolling, six times. According to results, those at risk of diabetes were able to better control their blood sugar than with longer, continuous walks.

Boosted by those findings, scientists tested a one-minute workout. For 60 seconds, participants exercised intensely in three 20-second intervals. The study showed benefits in endurance and health in overweight volunteers.

Using mice to test this idea even further, scientists found that muscle cells respond differently to varied levels of exercise. Pushing beyond the body’s comfort zone for even a short time reaps big benefits, said one scientist.

No matter what kind of exercise you do, it aids both your brain and body.

Some of the basic benefits of increased heart rate include:

• improved brain function

• boosts in mood

• protection against depression and stress

• slowing the affects of aging

• protection from age-related vision loss

• improved creativity

• increased pain tolerance

Coupled with a study showing the negative effects of prolonged sitting, it might just be time to get up off the couch and take a walk — even if it is a short one!

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