Image: Supplied. By Emma Wynne for ABC News.
Current government recommendations for 30 minutes of exercise five times a week could be met in less than half that time, according to a study involving researchers at Perth’s Curtin University.
The study found that doing nine 60-second sprints followed by two minutes of recovery could be as beneficial as 45 minutes of jogging.
Associate Professor Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani said the benefits of shorter, high-intensity sessions had already been established in laboratory studies.
“Our study was one of the first to look at whether it works in a real-life setting,” she said.
“We implemented a randomised control trial with 90 participants overall taking part in either moderate-intensity training or high-intensity condition training over 10 weeks.”
The researchers found there was similar benefit experienced by both groups — who had been sedentary prior to the training — in terms of fitness outcomes and cardio-metabolic improvement.
One group did moderate exercise for 30 to 45 minutes five times a week, and the high-intensity groups did just three sessions a week of 25 minutes.
“What we found, interestingly, was that there was a better adherence in those who did the high-intensity training,” Professor Thogersen-Ntoumani said.
“A big barrier to exercise is lack of time, whether perceived or actual. That could explain that difference.”
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The significance of the research is that it widens the options available to people who are looking to improve their fitness, the professor said.