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Many of us find it hard to make time for the gym. Fortunately, a new study says you don’t need a lot of time to fight weight gain.
Researchers from the University of Utah studied 2,202 female and 2,309 male adults under the age of 65 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Medical News Today says. The participants wore accelerometers for a week to gauge their physical activity, and were then categorized by the duration and intensity of their exercise.
The current U.S. guideline for exercise suggests that moderate physical activity has to be sustained for 10 minutes to make much difference. “As long as you’re doing your activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time” and 150 minutes a week, you’re fine, the CDC’s exercise guidelines page says. But this new study suggests that intensity matters more than duration, and bouts less than 10 minutes are OK.
“Even taking the stairs, leaving your car at the far end of the parking lot and walking briskly to the store count toward making a positive health difference,” Medical News Today says. Each minute of high-intensity exercise lowered the chance of being obese by 5 percent for women and 2 percent for men.
In fact, the study found that people usually don’t reach the recommended 150 minutes per week by 10-minute intervals. But if shorter bursts of activity are counted, men average 246 minutes per week and women 144 minutes per week.
Want some ideas for how to get in shape without a gym membership? Check out the video below.