Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Short bursts of exercise 'boosts health' in older people


Pensioners can dramatically boost their health by doing just one minute of intense exercise twice a week, according to a new study.

Scientists at Abertay University in Dundee found that in just six weeks the physical fitness of older people improved significantly and blood pressure was lowered.

Participants in the study were put through an exercise regime involving two sessions of high-intensity training a week, with six-second sprints on an exercise bike.

It is the first time that the effect of high-intensity training (HIT) on the health of pensioners has been tested, the researchers said.

They believe the regime could provide an alternative to the current exercise guidelines for older people, which many find difficult to meet.

Abertay University

John Babraj

The results are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Study author Dr John Babraj said: “What we found with this study – which involves doing just one minute of exercise twice a week – is that it not only improved the participants’ physical health and ability to do these things, but also their perceptions of their own ability to engage in physical activity.

“They enjoyed it, were delighted with the effects it had on their health and, on top of that, felt they could fit it into their lives, which is something they aren’t able to do with current exercise recommendations,” he said.

“As long as you are putting in your maximal effort it will improve your health”

Dr John Babraj

“If people aren’t meeting the targets, we need to find ways to work with them when it comes to exercise, rather than just persisting with something that isn’t working.

“High-intensity training is an achievable alternative that could make a real difference to people’s health and their quality of life,” he said.

“As long as you are putting in your maximal effort – whatever speed that happens to be – it will improve your health,” he added.

Dr Babraj urged people to consult their doctor before starting high-intensity training in case there are any underlying health issues.


Readers' comments (2)

  • "Pensioners can dramatically boost their health by doing just one minute of intense exercise twice a week, according to a new study."

    What has drawing a pension got to do with this study?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • michael stone

    This is good news - as I get older, I'm beginning to suspect that a short burst of activity (something like dragging my ancient body into a vertical position, for example) will be all that I can manage, anyhow.

    But it seems the message is really 'try to take some exercise'. It is a bit like the dietary one - if you weigh far too much, try to eat less.

    Although one of the problems, is that everyone is in a rush these days, trying to fit a lot in: that leads to thinks like driving to somewhere which is a 10 minute walk away, when years ago people would have walked. So now instead of walking, people drive - then, they (well, some do) 'deliberately exercise'. That isn't the whole of the story (there do seem to be emerging themes that very intense activity, is 'really good') but it does seem to be some of it.

    I can remember, when to change TV channels, you had to actually get up and walk to the TV, and push a button (blame these evil remote controls !).

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs