Do you find yourself trying to find excuses to avoid exercising whenever possible? Do you just hate hitting the gym to burn the calories you haphazardly consumed earlier in the day or the day before? Well, here’s some news that may just put a smile on your face: a recent study published in the American Journal of Physiology suggests that you lose just as much weight and body mass whether you’re exercising for 30 minutes or 60—you just need to make sure you’re exercising hard enough to break a sweat.

While the study looked at Danish men, findings still suggest that we may be able to cut down on gym time without having to sacrifice on our weight loss goals. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen recruited 60 heavy yet healthy men to participate in the study. The participants were divided into two groups; one had to exercise for an hour every day, and the other was made to exercise for only 30 minutes. They wore heart-rate monitors and calorie counters to track their progress.

When the researchers analyzed the results, they found that exercising hard enough to sweat for just 30 minutes every day is sufficient for lowering your body mass index (BMI). In fact, the men who exercised for half an hour daily lost more weight in three months (3.6kg) than those who exercised for an hour each day (2.7kg lost). Body mass was reduced by around 4kg, regardless of which group the men belonged to.

You may be wondering why more sweat doesn’t make more of a difference. According to study author Mads Rosenkilde, a PhD student at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, it may be that 30 minutes of exercise seems so much more doable than 60, and as a result, participants had the energy and were motivated to engage in other physical activities. On the other hand, those who worked out for an hour may have eaten more to compensate for the time spent exercising.

The key to enjoying the benefits of half an hour’s exercise, says Rosenkilde, is exercising every day and at the right intensity. Also, the participants actually wanted to change their lifestyles through exercise training, which may have helped them stick to the regimen. “The participants in our study trained every day for three months,” he is quoted as saying on “All training sessions were planned to produce a light sweat, but participants were expected to increase the intensity and give it gas three times a week.”

(Photo by lululemon athletica via Flickr Creative Commons)

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