Six minutes of intense exercise a week does as much good as six hours, according to a study.
People could cut their workouts from two hours a day, three times a week, to just two minutes a day and achieve the same results, claim researchers.
The two-minute workout requires cycling furiously on an exercise bike in four 30-second bursts.
Professor Martin Gibala, the author of the study, said: “The whole excuse that ‘I don’t have enough time to exercise’ is directly challenged by these findings.
“This has the potential to change the way we think about keeping fit.”
The study, published in this month’s Journal of Applied Physiology, involved 23 men and women aged between 25 and 35 who were tested to see how long it took them to cycle 18.6 miles.
One group cycled for two hours a day at a moderate pace. The second biked harder for 10 minutes a day in 60-second bursts.
The last group cycled at an intense sprint for two minutes in 30-second bursts, with four minutes of rest in between each sprint.
At the end of the two weeks each of the three groups was asked to repeat the 18.6 mile cycling test. Every subject was found to have improved to the same degree.
Further tests showed that the rate at which the subjects’ muscles were able to absorb oxygen also improved to the same level.