We get it - life is busy and sometimes working out drops to the bottom of the pile.
But if you can't fit in an hours gym session, run or exercise class, there's no need to write it off completely. You might be surprised to find out that spending hours in the gym is not necessary in order to stay fit. A 2009 study compared 3 groups of individuals over a 13 week period. The groups were split into people who exercised for 30 minutes a day, people who exercised 60 minutes a day, and people who didn’t do any exercise at all.
Those who were exercising were able to choose whichever activity they wanted, for example cycling or running but were instructed to work at around 70% maximum capacity for at least 3 exercise sessions. The rest of the time they could exercise at whichever level they chose.
Compared to the sedentary control group, both the 30 minute and 60 minute group lost 4% body weight and 14% body fat and 3% body weight and 13% body fat, respectively.
While the 60 minute exercise group saw more of an increase in metabolism than the 30 minute group, the 30 minute group experienced a higher maximum oxygen capacity than the 60 minute group. So even though the 60 minute group exercised for double the amount of time, they didn't see double the amount of benefits.
Another long term study has also looked at the link between exercise duration and life expectancy. This study found that even people who only partook in 75 minutes of exercise a week (that's just 15 minutes a day) had a much better life expectancy than those who were sedentary and did no exercise at all. The study also found that the health benefits of exercise significantly reduced after more than 90 minutes of exercise per day.
Both these studies show that when it comes to exercise, even as little as 15 minutes a day can have significant benefits to your health. So next time you can't fit in that hour class, don't throw the towel in completely!
When it comes to exercise every little counts, try a quick HIIT workout or find an express class - you'll find a large range of gyms and leisure centres offer 30 minute versions of your favourite exercise class for when you're short of time. Even if you can't get to a venue just take a 15 mins run or power walk, do a short series of exercise right at home ... there are loads of workout routines and even apps that can help you with inspiration!