If you’re trying to lose weight, you may not have to put in as many hours on the dreaded treadmill as once thought.
A recent study has found that just ten minutes of daily exercise can be as effective as long gym sessions, with scientists claiming the intensity of the activity to be more important than the length of time it’s done for.
The report suggests taking the office stairs, parking further away from shops and getting off the bus one stop early to anyone trying to shed pounds.
After examining more than 4,500 adults, scientists concluded that short bursts of exertion are as effective as longer but less frequent spells of exercise.
Many adults fail to reach the recommended NHS guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
The findings suggest that smaller, more achievable bursts can be just as beneficial.
‘What we learned is that for preventing weight gain, the intensity of the activity matters more than duration,’ said lead researcher Dr Jessie Fan, professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah.
‘Knowing that even short bouts of ‘brisk’ activity can add up to a positive effect is an encouraging message for promoting better health.’
The study was carried out by attaching ‘accelerometers’ to the volunteers, devices which measure movement and activity.
They also recorded the participants body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight in comparison to height.
In the US, guidelines advise people to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA) per week, which can be accumulated in shorter minute periods.
A walking speed of three mph or above equates to MPVA, but fewer than five per cent of American adults achieve the recommended guidelines.