In a study from the University of Sydney, scientists found just three to four one-minute bursts of huffing and puffing during daily tasks are linked to large reductions in the risk of premature death, particularly from heart disease.
It is the first to accurately measure the health benefits of what researchers have termed “vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity” or VILPA.
VILPA is the very short bouts of vigorous activity (up to one to two minutes) we do with gusto each day, like running for the bus, bursts of power walking while doing errands or playing high-energy games with the kids.
In the study, the team found that just three to four one-minute bouts of VILPA every day are linked to up to 40% reduction in all-cause and cancer-related mortality, and up to a 49% reduction in death related to heart disease.
The findings suggest that similar benefits to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be achieved by increasing the intensity of incidental activities done as part of daily living, and the more the better.
The team says a few very short bouts totaling three to four minutes a day could go a long way, and there are many daily activities that can be tweaked to raise your heart rate for a minute or so.
The majority of adults aged 40 and over do not take part in regular exercise or sport, but Professor Stamatakis said the study reveals how incidental physical activity can overcome many barriers.
The team says upping the intensity of daily activities requires no time commitment, no preparation, no club memberships, no special skills.
It simply involves stepping up the pace while walking or doing the housework with a bit more energy.
A comparative analysis of the vigorous activity of 62,000 people who regularly engaged in exercise found comparable results.
This implies that vigorous activity done as part of structured exercise or housework does not compromise the health benefits.
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The study was conducted by Emmanuel Stamatakis et al and published in Nature Medicine.
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