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Exercise bikes in the office may reduce the risk of heart disease, research shows

Putting exercise bikes in the office and urging employees to use them only twice a week could reduce their risk of heart disease or diabetes, scientists say.

A study found that sessions of just eight minutes and 40 seconds every few days might be enough to improve heart health.

Researchers claimed that the short bursts of exercise would reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 15 percent, as well as reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The sessions improved how much oxygen the human body could pump into their blood, making them fitter and healthier.

Putting the bikes in offices, the researchers said, took away the excuses that people didn’t have enough time or equipment to exercise regularly.

One of the study participants said that they felt ‘energized’ through the sessions and another added: ‘I am getting fitter’.

Researchers said the exercise was so easy that people could even do it in their work clothes without getting sweaty and having to shower afterward.

Scientists said people struggle to find time to exercise, so putting the bikes in an office and giving employees nine minutes a week to use them nine times a week can encourage inactive staff to improve their health. stock image)

Scientists said people struggle to find time to exercise, so putting the bikes in an office and giving employees nine minutes a week to use them nine times a week can encourage inactive staff to improve their health. stock image)

Poor cardiorespiratory fitness is one of the strongest [predictors] for cardiovascular, cancer and all-cause mortality, “said the researchers.

The study, conducted by the University of Stirling in Scotland, along with colleagues from Swansea and Cairo, enrolled 25 inactive office workers for a trial.

All people worked for congregations in Stirling and Swansea and were divided into two groups – twelve continued to live.

The training sessions were conducted twice a week for six weeks and done on exercise bikes in offices, hidden from view from other colleagues.

The cycling programs combined light pedaling with two short bursts of cycling as fast as possible for 20 seconds.

Scientists have measured the workers’ VO2 max, which is a measure of how much oxygen the heart and lungs can use when doing their utmost.

VO2 max is an accurate measure of the condition of the heart and lungs, which is directly related to the risk of heart disease and other serious diseases.

Dr. Niels Vollaard, a health and exercise science professor at the University of Stirling, said, “We found that the routine was effective in improving the overall health of the study participants.

VO2max increased by about 10 percent, compared to the control group, representing a 15 percent risk reduction for developing heart disease later in life.

‘Based on previous research, we would continue with the REHIT [reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training] routine would further improve the VO2max – again, further reducing the risk of heart disease.

“We also found that participants found the routine feasible, acceptable, and enjoyable.”

People who participated in the study – published in the journal BMC Public Health – had different views on how well it went.

One of them said, “If you can’t do anything and make an effort twice a week for 10 minutes … then something is wrong.”

Another added: “Goes as fast as you can for the 10 seconds, well I can do that! … that is manageable ‘.

A particularly enthusiastic worker said they were “tired, but absolutely buzzing at the time.”

“That endorphins lasted almost all day,” she added. “You just feel livelier, more energetic … you have more spring in the step … I tend to get a bit of an afternoon dip, and on those days I noticed I didn’t have it that much.”

The results of the research of Dr. Vollaard showed that people's fitness, measured by VO2 max, had increased after six weeks in the exercise group (white bar is after the six-week program, gray bar before that), but it did not change in the group that did not participate in the exercise

The results of the research of Dr. Vollaard showed that people's fitness, measured by VO2 max, had increased after six weeks in the exercise group (white bar is after the six-week program, gray bar before that), but it did not change in the group that did not participate in the exercise

The results of the research of Dr. Vollaard showed that people’s fitness, measured by VO2 max, had increased after six weeks in the exercise group (white bar is after the six-week program, gray bar before that), but did not change in the group that did did not participate in the exercise

But another said, “I have to be honest, I really struggled during the exercise … I felt it was killing me.”

And one added, ‘I was beginning to feel that I just wouldn’t be able to do the 20 seconds flat … I was like, I just can’t, I just can’t keep this up! ‘

Dr. Vollaard said, “Many people do not exercise enough and are therefore at increased risk of developing diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

One of the most commonly reported reasons for not meeting the exercise recommendations is lack of time – with people living busy lives, sitting at their desks for long working days, and commuting by car.

“Our team has looked at alternative exercise routines over the past eight years to help people reap the health benefits of exercise in less time.

REHIT is easy pedaling on an exercise bike, interspersed with two short bursts of high-intensity cycling. It is time-saving and is considered manageable by our study participants.

“Prior to this study, this approach had only been tested in laboratories, but we have now confirmed that it can be successfully implemented in an office environment.”

HOW MUCH EXERCISE SHOULD YOU DO?

To stay healthy, adults ages 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and do the following:

  • weekly at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking and exercise
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that train all important muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • 75 minutes of intensive aerobic activity such as running or a weekly game of tennis and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that train all important muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or:

  • a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity each week – for example, 2 x 30 minutes of running plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equates to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that train all important muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

A good rule is that 1 minute of vigorous activity offers the same health benefits as 2 minutes of moderate activity.

One way to do your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise is to do 5 minutes 30 minutes each week.

All adults should also sit for long periods of time with light activity.

Source: NHS

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