Exercise less: 20 minutes is all you need

An hour in the gym is 'too long' according to fitness experts who say 20 minutes exercise a day is all you need

An hour in the gym is ‘too long’ according to fitness experts who say 20 minutes exercise a day is all you need.

If you spend hours in the gym, you may be doing too much according to new research.

And for the workout-shy among us there’s good news – 20 minutes of exercise a day is all you need.

But before you breathe a sigh of relief that your workout will be over in less than half an hour, fitness expert Steve Barratt says: ‘If you reduce your workout, you must make the activity level harder.’

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 20 minutes of high intensity activity (leaving you breathless and sweating) is as good as 40-45 minutes at a less strenuous pace.

Celebrities have already jumped on the bandwagon.

Jennifer Aniston swears by a 22 minute cardio session, as does supermodel Helena Christiansen who says: ‘Twenty minutes is enough to get my heart rate up but not exhaust me.’

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Consumer watchdog the American Council on Exercise recommends ‘abbreviated fitness programmes’ for those who want to get results quickly.

But Barrett urges caution: ‘You can’t just expect to dive into doing tough exercise from scratch. There must be an element of progression.’

He recommends combining two or three 20 minute workouts with longer aerobic activity such as walking, running and cycling.

What’s your workout routine? Have you found an exercise plan you swear by? Let us know (please!) in the box below.

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