A new research study has good news regarding exercise as scientists say that physical and mental health can be improved with a routine that cuts the recommended exercise time in half.
University of Copenhagen discovered that 30 minutes of daily training provides an equally effective loss of weight and body mass as 60 minutes.
In America, over 63 percent of adults are either overweight (a weight that is more than the recommened amount yet not as severe as obesity) or obese. In Denmark, the country where the study was performed, 40 percent of Danish men are moderately overweight.
In the study, a research team followed 60 heavy — but healthy — Danish men in their efforts to get into better shape.
Half of the men were set to exercise for an hour a day, wearing a heartrate monitor and calorie counter, while the second group only had to sweat for 30 minutes.
Investigators discovered that 30 minutes of exercise hard enough to produce a sweat is enough to turn the tide on an unhealthy body mass index. Specifically, researchers found that the men who exercised 30 minutes a day lost 9 pounds in three months, while those who exercised for a whole hour only lost 6.75 lbs.
Moreover, 30 minutes of exercise training provided an extra bonus in that participants burned more calories, relatively.
Researchers believe exercising for a whole hour instead of 30 minutes does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat.
The men who exercised the most lost too little relative to the energy they burned by running, biking or rowing. Thirty minutes of concentrated exercise produced equally good results on the scale, said Mads Rosenkilde, Ph.D. student, Department of Biomedical Sciences.
Rosenkilde postulates that some of the explanation for the surprising results is that 30 minutes of exercise is so doable that participants in the study had the desire and energy for even more physical activity after their daily exercise session.
In addition, the study group that spent 60 minutes on the treadmill probably ate more, and therefore lost slightly less weight than anticipated.
A significant component of the study was the need to train every day for a three=month period. All training sessions were planned to produce a light sweat, but participants were expected to increase the intensity and effort three times a week, explains Rosenkilde.
Experts say the research results are unique, because participants in the study belong to the large but often overlooked group of moderately overweight men.
Participants in the study wanted a lifestyle change with the help of exercise training, and in the period of the study, they were followed closely by health science researchers with focus on energy balance, insulin resistance and hormones in the blood.
Ethnologists also took part in order to uncover the cultural barriers involved in training and changing well entrenched habits.
The broad interdisciplinary approach of this study, called the FINE project – a Danish acronym for Physical Activity for a Long Healthy Life – has resulted in strong evidence for the mental and physical benefits associated with exercise.
Their results are published in the American Journal of Physiology.
Source: University of Copenhagen