It is common knowledge that exercise delivers an array of benefits such as boosting metabolism, protecting you from disease and making you smarter. Research has recently turned to how exercise helps prevent ageing.
But how does it do all this, and how much exercise do you need to do to?
A new Australian study shows that just 2 minutes of intense exercise is enough to stimulate mitochondrial changes, which can slow ageing. Mitochondria are the energy centres of cells. A single session of exercise is enough to stimulate deep beneficial cellular changes within mitochondria, and even to grow new mitochondria.
Researchers wanted to discover how the intensity of a workout stimulates beneficial improvements in mitochondria. They studied 8 volunteers and compared mitochondrial changes in their thigh muscles.
The volunteers did cycling workouts of varying intensity – 30 minutes of continuous moderate intensity, five x four minute of high intensity with one minute of rest between each, and four x 30-seconds of sprint cycling at maximum intensity with 4.5 minutes of rest between each.
They found that fewer minutes of high-intensity exercise produced similar mitochondrial responses to moderate-intensity workouts. In fact, just 2 minutes of sprint interval cycling was enough to produce similar responses as 30 minutes of continuous exercise.
Research is always exploring which types of exercise are best for slowing the ageing process. This study shows that you can choose how long to exercise for according to your lifestyle and still reap the benefits.
If you’re pushed for time, don’t sweat it, just do 2 minutes of sprint cycling! Feel like taking a more leisurely pace – go for it, and you will still be prompting those powerful mitochondria into action.
This is amazing that just 2 minutes can make that much difference. I really think it's the intense exercise which we should be focusing on but the trouble is it's the one that feels the worst. No pain, no gain I guess.
I kept my exercise bike for this very reason - I jump on it for 2 minutes randomly during the week and throw all I have at it. It's made a big difference to my aerobic capacity without a doubt.
I think this demonstrates the world gone bad, that people would do 2 minutes of horrid extreme exercise purely for the physical benefit rather than do something much more enjoyable and mentally beneficial too.
every little helps....now who says that? But what about a warm up? I can't go like crazy on an exercise bike from a standing start so I'm not sure who I would get the exercise intense enough.
wow, so I could just jump on the exercise bike for 2 minutes and make a difference? Not sure I would get all the feel good benefits of a decent workout though