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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Study: Every minute of intense activity counts

STUDY: EVERY MINUTE OF
InTENSE EXERCISE COUNTS

Whether exercise contributes much to weight loss has long been a matter of debate, but new research shows every minute of intense activity counts when it comes to preventing weight gain through the years.

The study, published last Sunday in the American Journal of Health Promotion, recruited more than 4,500 volunteers to wear accelerometers — which measure pace and duration of physical activity — for three years and found that getting repeated bursts of just two or three minutes of intense activity can have as much impact on preventing weight gain over time as getting 10 minutes or more of steady exercise.

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In other words, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or jogging from a distant parking spot into the supermarket can help you avoid weight gain over the years, even if you can’t always find time for a longer workout.

That’s not to say that regular exercise sessions aren’t beneficial, but we shouldn’t discount advice to get our bodies moving quickly whenever we can.

The University of Utah researchers calculated that each daily minute spent in a high-intensity movement was associated with nearly a one-half pound smaller weight gain over three years. Those who worked a few minutes of strenuous activity into their day had a lower risk of developing obesity.

D.K.

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