Exercising and diet go hand-in-hand, and yet many people feel that to make the most of regular exercise their sessions have to be long, hard, and punishing. It can lead to exercise regimes that take an all-or-nothing attitude: either I do a 30 minute HIIT class, or I do it another day and do nothing today. Just as eating little and often has been long accepted as being good for you, several scientific studies point to the benefit of short bursts of exercise.
Short exercise sessions are good for you
It is common knowledge that a walk after dinner is a healthy habit (scientifically, this helps to reduce fat and triglyceride levels in the blood). Recent research goes further, and points to the health benefits of regular exercise in short sessions.
The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has published plenty of research linking short exercise sessions to lower blood pressure and thinner waistlines.
Research published in Preventive Medicine in 2006 showed the similarity between the benefits achieved by those doing several six-minute workouts and those working out for 30 minutes in a single session.
Boston University research conducted between 2008 and 2010 showed that weight loss, a lower BMI, and lower cholesterol levels are achieved by all those who have ten-minute bursts of exercise as part of their daily routine.
The August 2014 edition of the Harvard Health Letter described exercise as medicine, finding that benefits included:
- A reduction in stress
- An improvement in brainpower, including memory
- A healthier heart
- A decrease in type 2 diabetes
Given this sort of evidence, it is little wonder that more people are looking to instigate short bursts of exercise, with sessions lasting as little as four or five minutes. Such sessions help people achieve a positive attitude to fitness regimes, with regularity providing reinforcement.
What exercise is best for short sessions?
While any exercise is better than none, and it is possible for a personal trainer to devise exercise plans which can be conducted anywhere – in the kitchen; at the office; or in front of the TV at home – it is generally accepted that the more intense the short sessions are the more beneficial they become.
Creating a timetable of five minute sessions appropriate to an individual’s ability, lifestyle, and general health is a great way for a personal trainer to motivate their client. This helps instil a healthy attitude to fitness and a healthier lifestyle, rather than that all-or-nothing attitude.