Have you always wanted to make exercising a habit but could never get around to it? Here's some good news: doing one-minute bursts of vigorous physical activity three times a day can help you live healthier and longer. You can reap the benefits by simply going about your day and picking up the pace when walking or climbing stairs.
Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, analyzed a data set from the U.K. of more than 25,000 adults who didn't exercise. The participants wore activity monitors on their wrists for one week, and researchers tracked their health events and results for about seven years. This study was published in Nature Medicine last December 2022.
The researchers found that among the participants, those who did one or two minutes of intense physical movement from everyday activities about three to four times a day had a 38% to 40% lower risk of dying during the study period than those who didn't do any vigorous activity. In this study, "vigorous activity" was defined as using so much energy that one can't speak comfortably.
The researchers also found that the decreased risk of death held for any possible cause, including cancer. Furthermore, getting this small amount of vigorous physical activity was linked to a considerable risk reduction of death from cardiovascular disease—about 48%.
According to Emmanuel Stamatakis, the study's lead author and a professor of physical activity and population health at the University of Sydney, the findings suggest that doing everyday activities vigorously can have significant health benefits. This is excellent news for most of the world's population since only a minority worldwide commit to regular, dedicated exercise. Researchers are now committed to finding more options for more people to benefit from some form of daily physical activity.
Those who regularly exercised also received health benefits from short spurts of intense physical movement—about as much as the non-exercisers. This study's findings correlate with previous research showing the health benefits of short periods of vigorous physical activity, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Stamatakis hopes that the study's findings will help persuade health experts writing physical activity guidelines to encourage people to build short, vigorous movements into their daily routines.
If you want to incorporate the findings of this research into your daily life, you might want to consider doing the following:
Park your car far from your destination, then walk briskly for a few minutes.
Take the stairs and climb up faster if you can.
If you have a desk job, you can do jumping jacks or squats for one minute.
What do you think of the study’s findings?