One Minute of ‘Brief Bursts’ Is All Women Need for Better Health

by Matt Weik

Who knew that being quick and intense could yield such amazing benefits? Ladies, all you need to do is bang out one minute of running per day for health benefits. Oh, was that a total let-down from the title of this article? Well, at least it’s true.

In and Out

Our time is valuable these days, yet without good health we have nothing. With as little as one minute of running each day, women are able to improve their bone health—at least that’s what researchers are saying. Researchers from the University of Leicester and University of Exeter came together and found that when women were able to perform high intensity running for only 60 seconds, they improved bone health and minimized the risk of osteoporosis.

In fact, as women aged, the requirements got even lower. Pre-menopausal women could perform a jog for a minute while post-menopausal women were able to achieve the same benefits with a slow job. The key thing the researchers mentioned was that the activity must be weightbearing in order for the benefits to be had. For that reason, they choose to look at the benefits associated with running/jogging and ran into this amazing discovery.

One piece of information that the researchers are looking into is if the one minute of exercise can be split up throughout the day to achieve the same benefits or if the full minute needs to be done all at once. For this study, it was completed all at once to achieve a 4% increase in bone health when looking at data of over 2,500 women. The researchers also want to know if you perform an extra minute on a given day, if you are able to rest and not engage in the minute of running another day during the week to yield the same result. So, for instance if you do two minutes on Monday, could you take Tuesday off and still have the same outcome? Further research is clearly needed to answer some of these questions and paint a clearer picture on how running/jogging can improve bone health with what many would consider a minimum effort in the grand scheme of things.

The researchers were extremely conscious of proper timing for the study since every second mattered. One researcher mentioned, “We wanted to make every second count in our analysis, because short snippets of high-intensity activity are more beneficial to bone health than longer, continuous periods. We were careful not to ignore short bursts of activity throughout the day. However, it seems likely that just 1-2 minutes of running a day is good for bone health.”

An interesting addition to the findings was that there was an increase of 6% when women engaged in over two minutes of running each day of the week. When it comes to our abilities to perform exercise, every minute counts. For most, exercise is a chore and many people don’t want to do any more than what is needed. We live in a society where we would rather take a pill then need to put in a conscious effort to exercise in order to maintain our overall health. Everyone should be active to a degree. You don’t need to be a marathon exerciser and spend multiple hours in the gym doing resistance training and cardio. Now, in the matter of a couple minutes tops, women can at least improve bone health.

Make It Fit

It should go without saying, but if you can’t fit 60 seconds of exercise into your day, you have some serious issues and clearly your health isn’t a priority. If someone told me I could have health benefits from a 60-second bout of exercise, I’d be all over it. Heck, call me an overachiever, I might even do as much as three minutes.

Now, we need to realize that everyone has varying fitness levels. For that reason, not everyone is going to be able to engage in a 60-second run or jog depending on where they fall on the age spectrum. With that being said, if you aren’t able to run or jog, start with a walk until you build up the endurance to complete a jog. Once you can jog for the entire duration, go ahead and run for the allotted time. Build yourself up to it if you can’t complete the full minute.

By improving your bone health, you can lower the risk of osteoporosis. As women age, they generally tend to lose bone mass and density. This can potentially lead to breaks or fractures from something such as a fall. In order to prevent this, it’s advised to not only engage in weightbearing activities such as the one mentioned in this study, but also ensuring you are taking in your daily value of calcium.

Sources:

1.) University of Exeter. “One minute of running per day associated with better bone health in women.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2017.

2.) Victoria H Stiles, Brad S Metcalf, Karen M Knapp, Alex V Rowlands. “A small amount of precisely measured high-intensity habitual physical activity predicts bone health in pre- and post-menopausal women in UK Biobank.” International Journal of Epidemiology, 2017.
  

 

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