How one-minute bursts of exercise can boost health for over-60s in just six weeks

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Psychology of Sport and Exercise

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Research article Abstract only Does context predict psychological states and activity? An ecological momentary assessment pilot study of adolescents. More articles in press. Cultural Sport and Exercise Psychology: Blood pressure dropped and everyday tasks such as getting out of a chair or carrying shopping became easier, after the participants had carried out two one-minute sessions a week for six weeks. High-intensity training, or HIT, purports to offer at least the same benefits as conventional activity but in the fraction of the time and is the subject of much research.

The latest study is the first to focus on whether it may help older people. Researcher John Babraj put six men and women aged over 60 through their paces in his lab twice a week for six weeks. Each session began with them pedalling all-out on an exercise bike for six seconds before resting for at least a minute to allow their heart to recover and then giving it their all for another six seconds.

Researchers from Abertay University in Dundee pictured said short sessions of high intensity exercise could help ease the 'astronomical' cost of ill-health in the elderly. Although they began by doing six six-second sprints, by end of the study, they were able to do ten per session — adding up to 60 seconds of activity.

After just six weeks, blood pressure fell by 9 per cent and day-to-day activities were easier, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reports. Current guidelines say pensioners need to do at least two and a half hours of cycling or fast walking a week, plus two sessions of yoga, gardening or other activities that strengthen muscles.

Dr Babraj said that those who do not have an exercise bike can get the same benefit from six-second runs up a steep hill and added: Andrew Marr has blamed the stroke he suffered on experimenting with high intensity exercise. He said it could be argued that short, sharp sessions put less strain on the heart than lengthier, less intensive ones.

BBC presenter Andrew Marr has blamed the stroke he suffered last year on experimenting with high intensity exercise. Dr Babraj cautioned that people should check with their doctor before embarking on a training programme. Caroline Abrahams of Age UK said: The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

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How one-minute bursts of exercise can boost health for overs in just six weeks Easier to do tasks such as getting out of chair or carrying shopping Study by Abertay University in Dundee into high intensity exercise It could help ease the 'astronomical' cost of ill-health in the elderly By Fiona Macrae for the Daily Mail Published: Share this article Share.

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