Endurance

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Q: Can short bouts of exercise add up to cardiovascular fitness?

If I do 20 minutes of cardio at one time and then another 10-12 minutes a few hours later, will I get the se benefit as if I do it all at once? Nancy Caledonia, Ontario

By: Question from: ,

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Outside GOOur hottest adventure-travel tips and trips. Sent occasionally.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Subscribe
to Outside
Save Over
70%

Magazine Cover

iPad Outside+ App Access Now Included!

Advertisement

A: If you are talking about caloric burn, the answer is yes. In an effort to encourage people to exercise any way, any how, the American College of Sports Medicine has put out the word over the last few years about studies showing that multiple brief sessions yield results similar to those in which the total exercise time is tallied all at once.

That's why CDC recommendations specify that every adult should accumulate [emphasis added] 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most— preferably all— days of the week. (Though that prescription has risen to 60 minutes in some quarters.) But to help your heart get its best possible workout, there is something to be said for getting at least 20 minutes in one haul. It can take your heart rate several minutes to stabilize at an elevated workout pace.

Moreover, if you are trying to develop the metabolic infrastructure of endurance, your body needs to go for a long time in order to learn how to go for a long time, so a few short bouts of exercise won't cut the mustard.

More at Outside

Next in Fitness (19 of 35)

What is the easiest way to lower my marathon time?

Read More »
Current Issue Outside Magazine

Subscribe and get a great deal! Two free Buyer's Guides plus a free GoLite Sport Bottle. Monthly delivery of Outside—your ultimate resource for today's active lifestyle. All that and big savings!

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Gear of the Day The latest products, reviews, and editors' picks. Coming soon.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Ask a Question

Our gear experts await your outdoor-gear-related questions. Go ahead, ask them anything.

* We might edit your question for length or clarity. If it's not about gear, we'll just ignore it.