This Exercise May Increase Longevity

Physical activity is essential for good health and longevity. But not everyone has the time or motivation for traditional exercise routines.

Fortunately, recent clinical studies provide new hope for those seeking to increase their lifespan without long workouts.

Quick Bursts of Exercise

Multiple studies have demonstrated that quick bursts of intense physical activity can provide significant benefits for your health and longevity.

For example, a heart study published in September 2020, demonstrated that just 12 minutes of exercise can bring about widespread improvements in metabolic and cardiovascular health.

Another study from June 2021 examined the effects of a power cycling training routine. These 15-minute training sessions involved repeated short sprints—just 4 seconds at a time, at maximum intensity—on an exercise bike. After 8 weeks, study participants showed increased muscle mass and significantly improved cardiovascular capacity.

Non-Exercise Physical Activity

A new study published in December 2022 reviewed the data of 25,241 individuals who don’t engage in regular exercise. These participants were part of a larger, long-term study which involved wearing accelerometer devices to measure their physical activity levels.

The researchers found that brief, intense physical activity that was integrated into everyday life, called vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity (VILPA), was associated with lower risks of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

In fact, participants who engaged in VILPA at the average frequency (3 bouts per day lasting 1-2 minutes each) showed a reduction in death risk of 26-49% compared to those who did no VILPA.

These findings suggest that quick bursts of intense physical activity, even if they are not considered traditional exercise, can have significant health benefits and potentially increase longevity.

Adding Quick Bursts of Activity into Your Daily Life

So, how can you incorporate these quick bursts of intense physical activity into your daily life?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Run up the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
  • Take a brisk walk during lunch breaks.
  • Do a quick set of jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, or burpees during TV commercials.
  • Park your car a little farther from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
  • Add a quick jog or short sprint into your routine walks.
  • Stand up and move around for a few minutes every hour.

Making small changes like these to your daily routine can have big benefits for your lifespan and healthspan.

But keep in mind, health guidelines still recommend engaging in regular exercise and physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week, or 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.

So, while quick bursts of intense physical activity can provide additional health benefits, they should be seen as a supplement to a well-rounded exercise routine, not a replacement.