Short bursts of intense exercise over a fortnight have huge health benefits, according to ground-breaking research by Canterbury Christ Church University.
Academics found that putting participants through 90 seconds of high intensity resistance training three times per week for a two week period improved general fitness and heart health and reduced blood pressure.
The findings by the Sport and Exercise Science Department contradicts official advice on appropriate levels of exercise.
At present, government guidelines for adults aged between 19 and 64 suggest that over seven days physical activity should add up to at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
However, the university found better health outcomes when it tested its training programme on 40 people who did little exercise.
They undertook high intensity resistance training on cycling machines and trained for 1.5 minutes, three times per week for a two-week period.
Dr Jamie O’Driscoll, principal investigator of the research project, says the finding offer people unable to meet government guidelines an alternative way to keeping fit and healthy.
He said: “It is well known that a physically inactive lifestyle is a major risk for numerous chronic diseases.
“Lack of time is a leading reason why a large proportion of the population are unable to meet the recommended guidelines. However, most people should be able to find a couple of minutes, three times a week for exercise.
“There are a number of ways people can perform high intensity interval training at home. If people want to follow the programme within this research, they will need a fixed bicycle with the ability to control pedal resistance”
Canterbury Christ Church University’s findings have been published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Dr O’Driscoll discusses his findings in this video: