With busy schedules and an endless list of responsibilities, it can become increasingly harder to get in daily exercise. It may be easier to workout on the weekends, but according to new research, limiting your physical activity to just a few days a week may be the wrong strategy in the long run. British researchers from the University of Exeter and the University of Leicester found that daily exercise that includes brief bursts of intense activity, even for just one or two minutes a day, can help reduce the risk osteoporosis later on in life.
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During a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that those who did brief bursts of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity equivalent to running at a medium pace (for premenopausal women), and a slow-paced jog (for postmenopausal women) for at least one minute a day had better bone health over time. The participants in the study who averaged 60–120 seconds of high-intensity activity had 4 percent better bone strength and density then those who did less than a minute. Participants who did over two minute bursts of high-intensity activity had a 6 percent increase in bone health.
“We don’t yet know whether it’s better to accumulate this small amount of exercise in bits throughout each day or all at once, and also whether a slightly longer bout of exercise on one or two days per week is just as good as one to two minutes a day,” said lead study author Dr. Victoria Stiles. “But there’s a clear link between this kind of high-intensity, weight-bearing exercise and better bone health in women.”