Any amount of physical exercise is better than none. This is the conclusion that many scientific studies have reached in recent years. It is not necessary to do an hour of sport every day to experience the beneficial consequences. Just a little while is enough. Although, logically, the more the better. The previous studies point to the advantages of a short period of intense exercise, especially at the cardiovascular level.

However, a new work, recently published in Circulation by scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, goes even further, concluding that with just 12 minutes, the levels of a large number of markers associated with health and life expectancy vary considerably.

This study focused on analyzing how little time of intense exercise influences the levels of certain metabolites. These are substances derived from the different metabolic processes of the body, which can serve as an indicator of both good and bad health.

To check these effects, they analyzed blood samples from 411 middle-aged men and women, after regularly practicing 12 minutes of vigorous exercise.

One of the 588 metabolites they studied was glutamate. If found in high amounts it is associated with heart disease, diabetes and a shortened life expectancy. However, in these people it had been reduced by 29%.

They also observed beneficial effects in relation to dimethylguanidine valeric acid. People who have high levels of this substance are more likely to develop diabetes and liver disease. That is why the 18% reduction experienced by the study participants was very beneficial.

The negative side of this study is that there were some factors that diminished these benefits. For example, the reduction in the levels of the mentioned metabolites was not as high in obese people. But just because it wasn’t that noticeable doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. For any individual, a short period of intense exercise is enough to improve their health.

With regard to age, it should be noted that the participants had an average age of 56, which proves that it is never too late to start exercising. Our health will thank us, at any time and for any length of time. We are left without excuses to try.


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