People are more knowledgeable in the field of exercise and nutrition today than a decade ago. A good population make a concerted effort to eat healthy and hit the gym.

Some go for a run every morning, covering a few miles and keeping a tab of the distance covered on a weekly or monthly basis. This gives them a sense of measurability to indicate performance over a period of time.

Others may bank on the weights they lift, the number of body parts covered during a week, number of hours and repetitions.

Common modality or thinking of a fairly average individual who knows health and nutrition is to ride on the number of hours they put in doing the physical stuff.

How many hours do we need to optimally workout to stay fit?

Sixteen healthy people in their early twenties were chosen for the research.

Eight of them were put on a regimen to cycle at high intensity for eighteen minutes spread over six workouts over a two week period.

The second group cycled at a moderate intensity for twelve hours, spread over six workouts in the two week period.

Results were surprising to most. The fitness levels of the two groups had improved at the same rate. The group that spent longer hours cycling did not get any additional benefit.

What does this tell us?

Working out at the highest possible intensity for a handful of minutes in a week is equivalent to spending hours at moderate intensity.

We are all crunched for time. Most of us work for no less than eight hours a day, add a couple more hours for travelling and then another seven hours for sleeping and resting. We are left with a handful of minutes to play with. Putting a major portion of poverty stricken commodity eats into our personal lives, the time we spend on our family and the time we need to develop our skills and talents.

If you like to get the full picture of the benefits of working out for a lesser duration, the reasons behind the scene and what kind of workouts to perform, dig into Body by Science by Doug McGuff and John Little.

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