18 Minute Fitness Burst As Good As Long Run

It turns out dancing hurdling sensation Michelle Jenneke has the perfect high-intensity workout for the modern age. A recent study out of Curtin University in Western Australia and Birmingham University, UK suggests that fitness nuts may be doing more than they need to when it come to their daily exercise.

Researchers studied running partners and discovered that short bursts of exercise were as beneficial to subjects as jogging for an uninterrupted 45 straight minutes. In all 90 generally inactive adults between the ages of 18 and 60 were asked to exercise in one of two groups.

The first group was given a traditional exercise program that required them to run for 45 minutes at a time. The second group was given a higher intensity exercise regime that could be completed in just 18 minutes.

Participants in the high-intensity regime were given quicker work out times that included such activity as sprinting for 60 seconds and then resting for 2 minutes. Or they were asked to complete 15 second sprints with 45 seconds of recovery time.

Associate Professor and fitness researcher Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani stand in front of books at Curtain University
Associate Professor Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani of Curtain University in Western Australia is among the first researchers to study short-burst high intensity exercise in a real life setting.

What was most illuminated was the retention rate of the participants who were allowed to quick the program at any time. Only 60% of the traditional exercise group continued with the program compared to a much higher 80% retention rate in the high intensity group.

One of the important lessons this study tells us is that many people are not necessarily averse to hard exercise but are in fact time strapped. When subjects were given options for a short term exercise plan they have a much higher commitment.

As Associate Professor and study organizer Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani told Australia’s ABC News, “What we found, interestingly, was that there was a better adherence in those who did the high-intensity training; a big barrier to exercise is lack of time, whether perceived or actual. That could explain that difference.”