Quick, intense bursts of physical activity offers big health benefits

There’s good news for those finding it hard to fit in a daily thirty minute workout. A study published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that all moderate and vigorous activity throughout the day count towards reducing your risk of death, even if it’s a short burst of activity.  Short bursts of activity include climbing stairs instead of taking an elevator, walking briskly around the block, dancing to an upbeat song or taking a three-minute jog, each add up to better health benefits.

Past recommendations on physical activity

Ever since 2008, Americans have been encouraged to obtain a minimum of moderate exercise totaling 150 minutes or vigorous activity totaling 75 minutes weekly, over several days. 

But, carving out that chunk of thirty to sixty minutes at once, can be difficult when living a busy schedule. Now, science is saying, “no worries.” Several short bursts of activity of just a few minutes throughout the day can help prevent potentially deadly conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

Study findings

Researchers with the study, conducted between 2003 and 2006, looked at the experience of 4,840 participants, age 40 and older, affiliated with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Each participant wore tracking devices to keep tabs on their activity.  

Conclusions from this study showed that short bursts of activity do add up and ultimately reap big health benefits suggesting reducing the risk of premature death by more than one-third. .  

The federal guidelines’ advice conflicted with what this study is saying.  Those guidelines suggested that if an activity lasted less than 10 minutes in length that it didn’t count towards health benefits.  

This new study had participants deliberately doing vigorous activities during their day that took much less than 10 minutes, such as racing up stairs, parking farther away from work, and walking into a store to order and get their coffee instead of ordering from a drive-thru window.

The researchers found that as long as the intensity of a short burst of activity reached a moderate or vigorous level, it paid off in long-term health improvements.  Researchers agreed that it’s still a good thing to obtain a minimum of at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week as it can lead to a reduced risk of an early death.  But, for those who find it hard to squeeze in that block of time, fitting in “quick’ workouts such as climbing stairs or taking a brisk five minute walk during lunch hour, is an ideal alternative.  

The more physical activity one does each day, the greater the benefits to overall health which can lead to a longer life.  Moreover, the findings support that the accumulated total of weekly physical activity matters most.  So, whether a person aims to be physically active for 150 minutes each week, or divided up into short duration more frequently (short bursts of activity), or longer bouts of exercise, it all counts.  


Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. 

5/53 ratings
You find this post Interesting