Is 12 minutes of exercise a week enough?
In a study bound to stir up controversy, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology say that four-minute bursts of exercise performed three times a week is all you need to stay fit. While a total of 12 minutes of weekly exercise may seem insufficient, their research suggests it is enough to increase oxygen intake levels as well as lower blood pressure and glucose levels.
In this study, investigators observed a total of 26 inactive, overweight, but otherwise healthy male participants over a 10-week period. The men were broken into two groups – one that exercised three times a week in four-minute bursts and one that undertook 16-minute sessions that were broken into four-minute bouts. The results showed that oxygen intake increased by similar amounts in both groups – 10 percent in the four-minute group and 13 percent in the 16-minute group. But the group that did 16 minutes of exercise reduced cholesterol and body fat more successfully.
This approach may be best suited for people who have been inactive, in that it could provide a less demanding way for people to start working their way into shape. A previous report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that only 20 percent of Americans are getting enough exercise.