Manchester Metropolitan University

Friday, 22nd June 2012

Keep fit in 2 minutes a day

Research to investigate 'short burst' training.

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WOULD you be more inspired to exercise if you thought you could keep your body fit and healthy in just a few minutes a day?

Well maybe you can - researchers in Healthcare Science are investigating the claim that short bursts of intense exercise can be as beneficial as long sessions in the gym and can help prevent illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Previous research suggests that just a few minutes of very high intensity exercise, such as sprinting, could have the same benefits as jogging for 90 minutes.

“It could be just 5 minutes or a little as 2 depending on the individual, says professor of cell pathology Mark Slevin. "But what nobody has looked at is how this works or what other effects this type of exercise has on the body.”

Comprehensive study

“We are doing a really comprehensive study into this, looking at how this type of exercise could affect cardiovascular markers, fertility, cognitive function, body fat, hormone levels and likelihood of getting diseases such as diabetes.”

“This could be hugely helpful in the fight against the obesity epidemic because it really wouldn’t take a huge time commitment to see quite dramatic results.”

The study will involve testing and measuring volunteers Vo2 max(the amount of oxygen a person can consume while exercising) as well as blood tests including insulin, glucose and cholesterol and a full medical questionnaire.

Volunteers will then be given a tailored 12 week exercise programme involving just a few minutes of exercise at double their Vo2 max measurement.

12-week trial

They will do this a few times a week and will be tested at the halfway point and at the end of the twelve weeks to see what changes, improvements have occurred.

“The biggest barrier to exercise is often lack of time,” said physiology lecturer Jamie McPhee: “but with this training programme, there really is no excuse because it will only take a few minutes.

“This flexible exercise interval training (FXI) will also be tailored to the individual so that it can be done at a time and a place convenient to them, for example in their park opposite their house, or running up and down their stairs.”

A team of 12 academic staff from Healthcare Science will be involved in the study.

Willing volunteers

More than 80 volunteers have already signed up and the team are hoping to recruit more.

The research will be staggered and the first group of volunteers will start in mid July. It’s estimated that the last group of volunteers will begin their twelve week programme by September.

The programme is being supported by Q hotels at the Midland Hotel who have members of staff participating and who have donated use of their gym facilities to participants for the duration of programme.

If you are interested in participating in the research please contact Professor Mark Slevin on

Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the most extensive higher education centres in Europe with 37,000 students and more than 1,000 undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses. The University educates and trains large numbers of legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals.

The University is in the top three nationally for environmental sustainability and has an 85% research impact rated world-leading and internationally excellent.

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