Is a Short but Intense Workout Best?

Is a Short but Intense Workout Best?

It’s a no-brainer that physical exercise is good for you. And if you want to buff up, you know you have to put in the hours at the gym.

But to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity? Great news: A new study, published in BMJ Open, says you can get away with a shorter but intense workout.

The secret, researchers found while looking at data from over 10,000 people in Denmark, is sweat. No, your perspiration doesn’t have magic properties, but if you break a sweat during your workout, your body will thank you. Here’s what it takes. 

The study showed that even an intense workout like fast walking or jogging could reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome (a cluster of risk factors for diabetes and heart disease that includes things like belly fat and high blood pressure)) by up to 50 percent. Casual walking for more than an hour, though, didn’t have much of an effect.

Unsurprisingly, people who were physically inactive were more likely to have metabolic syndrome, and while other studies are mixed on whether quantity or quality of physical exercise matters more, this one clearly comes down on the side of kicking it up for a notch—even if for just half an hour a day.

That’s no excuse to ditch your regular workout to sit on the couch. (That kind of physical inactivity can kill, too.) But when it comes to heart disease, diabetes and obesity, the best advice is…if in doubt, sweat it out.

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