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Short bursts of exercise beneficial for inactive men

30th May 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A potentially groundbreaking new study carried out at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has given further support to the theory that short bursts of exercise can be enough to significantly improve the physical fitness of otherwise inactive men.

These findings, which will be of particular interest to anyone whose limited mobility means that they are unable to engage in prolonged exercise sessions and are reliant on the use of indoor stair lifts to get around the home, were arrived at after comprehensive research was undertaken by Arnt Erik Tjonna, a postdoctoral fellow at NTNU.

Tjonna, whose study is described in detail in this Science Daily article, concluded that maximal oxygen uptake (otherwise known as VO2 max), a widely recognised measure of fitness, is substantially increased simply by carrying out four minutes of 'vigorous activity' three times each week.

Mobility aids for the elderly provide excellent support to those who struggle to walk with ease, although it is clearly important for people who face this challenge to continue to move around when they can. It is for this reason that Tjonna's theory will be broadly welcomed; as the researcher explains, the results could 'provide a real boost for inactive people who are struggling to find the motivation to exercise'.

Whilst there can be no disputing that the results of this new research are intriguing and could lead to the improved health and wellbeing of many men, there are still some issues which suggest the findings should be treated with caution. Firstly, Tjonna himself concedes that, with the number of participants at 24, the study was fairly small in size, making extrapolation somewhat unreliable. In addition to this, there was no mention of what effects a similar amount of exercise could have on women, which is something that needs to be addressed as soon as the conditions are right for doing so.

Image credit: Jennifer C. (flickr.com)