Very short intermittent vs continuous bouts of activity in sedentary adults

Macfarlane, Duncan J., Taylor, Lynne H., & Cuddihy, Thomas F. (2006) Very short intermittent vs continuous bouts of activity in sedentary adults. Preventive Medicine, 43(4), pp. 332-336.

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Objective: Whether accumulating short intermittent bouts of light-to-moderate physical activity (LMPA) can elicit significant improvements in the fitness of sedentary adults, compared to one longer continuous bout.

Methods: Fifty sedentary 35- to 60-year-old adults in Hong Kong were randomly appointed to one of two gender-balanced intervention programs: Exercise Prescription Model (EPM) of 30-minute continuous activity, 3–4 days per week, or a Lifestyle group (LIFE) of 6-minute activity, 5 times per day, 4–5 days per week. Aerobic fitness (VO2max), mass, body composition, blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index (BMI) were assessed at baseline (December 1995) and after 8 weeks.

Results: Nearly half of bouts by the LIFE group were ≤ 6 min, while 85% of the EPM bouts were ≥ 30 min, with no differences in additional energy expenditure between groups (EPM: 163.0 ± 89.6 MET h vs LIFE: 148.2 ± 71.6 MET h). Both groups significantly improved their VO2max, 7.4% (ES = 0.36) and 5.3% (ES = 0.24) for the EPM and Lifestyle groups respectively (F(1,43) = 34.0, p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Accumulating multiple short bouts of LMPA, of which 50% were ≤ 6 min, can provide significant improvements in the fitness of sedentary adults that is not dissimilar as one continuous bout of similar total duration.

Impact and interest:

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25 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 7831
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal's website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Keywords: Keywords, Exercise, Lifestyle, Structured, Aerobic fitness, Fatness
DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2006.06.002
ISSN: 0091-7435
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health Promotion (111712)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Elsevier
Deposited On: 02 Jul 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:27

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