One of the most common excuses for not exercising has just been refuted. It is no longer necessary to invest hours working out, according to new research.
In fact, a mere 4 seconds is all it takes to burn fat and reduce triglyceride levels. That is particularly good news for people stuck at home with few outlets for formal workouts during the COVID-19 lockdown.
In a recent study, people who sat for 8 hours but interrupted their inactivity with 4 seconds of an intense workout on a stationary bike 5 times hourly burned more fat and had lower levels of triglycerides than those who sat all day. In total, they exercised for a mere 160 seconds daily.
The results of the study were published in the journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood, says NBC's "Today," and high triglyceride levels increase your risk of heart disease.
While previous studies have shown that one bout of exercise, like running for an hour, could improve triglyceride levels the next day, this study is the first to show that exercising for mere seconds frequently during the day can achieve the same benefit. Edward Coyle, director of the University of Texas' Human Performance Laboratory, told NBC's "Today":
"Exercise improves healt. So, when you do very intense exercise like this, even though it's not much exercise at all, it is still a stimulus to the muscle and improves the muscles' ability to take triglycerides out of the bloodstream—burning them directly, increasing fat oxidation."
The participants showed a 31% reduction in triglyceride levels after a high fat meal and also burned more fat over the six hours following their brief, but intense workouts. Taking short activity breaks from sitting, even if its just for a moment, can reap health benefits if done regularly, says Keith Diaz, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, who has studied the health dangers of too much sitting.
"This could be good news for many sedentary adults who have limited time in their day and may not be able to get to the gym," Diaz told NBC's "Today."
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