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London - You might be under the impression that losing weight requires hours in the gym.
But according to scientists, just one extra minute of brisk activity every day can help burn off unwanted kilos.
Researchers monitored the activity of 4 500 adults, and discovered that how often you exercise your heart and lungs matters more than the duration of the workout.
They found that several short bursts of exertion had the same effect as longer, but less frequent spells of exercise.
Those short bursts could include taking the stairs instead of the lift and parking further away from the shops and walking.
Lead researcher Dr Jessie Fan, of the University of Utah, said: “What we learnt is that for preventing weight gain, the intensity of the activity matters more than duration.”
In the study, volunteers wore accelerometers – devices which can accurately measure movement and activity.
Participants also had their body mass index (BMI) recorded. This measures weight in relation to height.
Researchers found that, for women, every minute spent in higher-intensity short bouts of activity each day was associated with a BMI reduction of 0.07.
The results were similar for men, with each daily minute of higher-intensity activity lowering the likelihood of being obese by two percent for men and five percent for women.
In a separate study published last year, an academic at Aberdeen University suggested that short bursts of exercise were better at warding off heart disease than longer, less strenuous sessions.
That is because they helped speed up the rate at which fat left the blood.
Fat lingering in the blood is known to trigger the first in a series of steps that can lead to clogging of the arteries and heart disease. – Daily Mail