Can 12 Minutes of Exercise a Day Really Benefit Seniors?


Are you one of those people who knows you should exercise, who wants to exercise, but still says, “I don’t have time?”

Are you like many people who need to see results FAST in order to get motivated and stay motivated?

Well here is the good news. I have great information to confirm there are benefits from quick bursts of ‘high intensity interval training’ or HIIT.

And the best part – this 12-minute routine will give you major proven health benefits – even if you are overweight and sedentary.

Portrait of happy Senior fitness woman doing thumbs up at session in gym.

Sound too good to be true? I thought so too until I read the research for myself.

In an exciting new study from Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, people who were overweight and who normally didn’t exercise boosted their fitness levels with this speedy routine:

A two-minute warm-up, followed by three, two-minute-interval workouts.

For each interval, exercise as hard as you safely can for 20 seconds, followed by two minutes of recovery at a slow pace. Do it two more times.

End with a three-minute cool down.

It shouldn’t be too surprising, as much has been written about the benefits of short bursts of exercise. In fact, Professor Gibala and his colleagues have conducted many of the most influential recent studies of high-intensity interval training, and many of the scientists within the research group regularly exercise with interval training.

They began to wonder if it was possible to lower the overall time commitment. The question was asked, “How low could someone go in terms of time and still gain health and fitness benefits?”

The researchers recruited a group of 14 sedentary and overweight men and women. Other than their weight and inactive lifestyle, they were otherwise healthy.

This group was specifically targeted because sedentary, overweight people are high risk for serious health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes. They are high risk for medical problems that are preventable if they added some exercise to their routines. But the researchers also knew that the common complaint heard was, “I don’t have the time.”

Muscle biopsies were taken from the volunteers. This enabled the researchers to measure each participant’s aerobic endurance, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Next, volunteers were asked to complete an extremely time-efficient, interval-training program on computerized stationary bicycles.

Each session consisted of:

· 2 minute warm up
· A 20 second ‘all out effort’
· 2 minutes of slower, steady pedalling
· A 20 second ‘all out effort’
· 2 minutes of slower, steady pedalling
· A 20 second ‘all out effort’
· 2 minutes of slower, steady pedalling
· 3 minutes cool down.


The volunteers completed three of these sessions per week, leading to 36 minutes of weekly exercise, for six weeks.

Then they were retested in the lab.

The results shocked the researchers.

12 Minutes of Exercise a Day Can Really Benefit Seniors

Both men and women had increased their aerobic endurance capacity significantly – in fact, it had increased by an average of 12 percent.

In addition to improved aerobic endurance, they had healthier blood pressures and higher levels within their muscles of certain biochemical substances that increase the number and activity of mitochondria.

Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of cells.

More mitochondria means better endurance and fitness.

Male volunteers also had significantly improved their blood-sugar control. More research will beiStock_000021625153_Large needed to determine why this one benefit was more significant for men than women.

Although the study volunteers used exercise bikes, you can jog in place or do jumping jacks – just get that heart pumping!

Improved Fitness Levels from Adding BRIEF High Intensity Training

Every Baby Boomer and Senior will stand to benefit from this news!

Researchers confirmed that a 12-minute routine including 3 20-second intervals where participants pushed themselves hard improved fitness levels, endurance and decreased blood pressure after only 6 weeks!

Add in some exercise classes at the local Y or Recreation Centre or even some daily walking for even better results.

Focus on your strength, endurance, flexibility and balance – all critical components of preventing falls.

See results in how your clothes fit and how you feel!

Not having enough time does not cut it anymore if you really want to improve your health and prevent many of the diseases caused by a sedentary life style.

Seniors benefit from exercise.
Senior adults in a stretching class

It doesn’t matter what your age or fitness level is – every baby boomer and senior can get positive health benefits from adding exercise to their daily activities. Remember, research has confirmed that even short bursts of 20 second intervals of hard effort can have a positive impact on your health.

Everyone wants to stay independent and enjoy their health as long as possible.

And being a Healthy Active Senior means you recognize how important your physical health, mental health and the key elements of aging in place are to your long term independence.