It All Adds Up

Exercising for short bursts burns the same amount of calories as working out for one longer period of time, say researchers from the University of Wisconsin. Publishing their results in the October 2001 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers found that women who worked out for three 10-minute periods, two 15-minute periods or one 30-minute period lost the same amount of body weight and fat.

For 12 weeks, W. Daniel Schmidt, PhD, and colleagues from the Department of Physical Education and Health Promotion at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh studied the effects of exercise done in different spurts by observing 30 overweight female college students who had a body mass index of at least 28. All subjects were put on a calorie-restricted diet.

The women were divided into four groups: a control group who did not exercise, a group who exercised continuously for 30 minutes a day, a group who exercised for two periods of 15 minutes each and a group who worked out for three periods of 10 minutes each. The exercise groups received aerobics training three to five times per week.

Body weight and fat decreased “significantly” in all three exercise groups, but not in the sedentary group. As a result, the researchers conclude that “exercise accumulated in several short bouts has similar effects” in overweight young women as exercising all in one longer session.

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