Just one minute of exercise each week is enough to provide health benefits to people over the age of 65, researchers have claimed.
The study, from Abertay University in Dundee, saw groups of 65 to 75 year-olds participate in either once or twice weekly training sessions for a period of eight weeks.
Each had been living a sedentary lifestyle and had not been taking part in regular exercise.
The participants took to stationary bikes and were asked to cycle as hard as they were able to for six seconds before resting for at least a minute.
They repeated the process – which is known as sprint interval training (SIT) – until they had exercised for a total of one minute.
Experts found that the once weekly session was enough to produce improvements in blood glucose control and general mobility.
Older adults are currently advised
to take at least 150 minutes of
moderate intensity exercise each week
As people age, they lose the ability to take glucose out of their blood which results in insulin resistance. This can lead to type 2 diabetes and problems with the heart and liver.
Dr John Babraj, who led the study, said although those participating in the twice-weekly sessions observed a greater improvement, those taking part in the single session also observed change.
“Importantly, they also observed a difference in general function, greatly improving their ability to do everyday tasks such as getting up to answer a door and walk up and down stairs,” he added. “These are major issues for older people. As we lose physical function, we start to become socially isolated, and as we become socially isolated our quality of life declines significantly.”
Currently, older adults are advised to participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week, which Babraj acknowledged can be difficult to accrue.
“Our results provide further support for the inclusion of this form of training in the guidelines as one of the methods to gain health benefits,” he said.