By Gabe Sanders Ph.D., NSCA-CSCS
Many people have perceived exercise as a chore, an unwanted task that they need to fit into their daily schedule. It is low on their priority list and therefore, exercise is the first habit they drop. People stop exercising because they believe it takes up too much time or quite frequently, they believe it may take too long to see any health benefits.
The fact is that your body will benefit from each and every session whether it is a short strength session or a long-duration 60 minutes session that includes cardiorespiratory and strength exercises. However, from an appearance standpoint or a physical fitness assessment standpoint, it will take longer, but still not that long.
Recent research published in Research Directs in Health Sciences found that a 4-week training program can improve functional physical fitness in adults. The participants in the study experienced vast improvements in leg strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, and upper body strength. However, the participants did not experience any significant changes in body composition or body fat percent after four weeks. Notably, each training session was only 45 minutes in duration and included some high-intensity exercises on three days of the week.
In as little as four weeks it is possible to see and feel changes in your body from exercise. It may be possible to see changes in body fat percent as well. In the previously aforementioned study, the researchers did not control for diet and the participants were not asked to limit their food intake as well, which is likely why there were no changes in body composition.
In summary, you can make big changes and improve your health in as little as four weeks. So get started, avoid excuses, and make a positive change in your life!
Rachel Dykstra, Alec Thomson, & Nicholas Hanson. (2021). Is a 4-Week Long Functional Training Program Able to Improve Physical Fitness Components in University Faculty and Staff?. Research Directs in Health Sciences, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.53520/rdhs2021.10414
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