According to a report published in the September issue of the Harvard Health Letter, from Harvard Medical School, popular fitness programs that advocate quick and short working out sessions may not help lose weight or control adverse health conditions that can lead to diseases. To prevent weight gain and onset of diseases, much more longer and strenuous workout sessions are required every week.
Furthermore, some of these "no-sweat" workouts focus solely on strength training, skimping on aerobic activity and stretching to save time. Aerobic exercise, which raises your heart rate and improves cardiovascular health, has proven long-term payoffs. According to the Harvard Health Letter, a workout routine that doesn't include aerobic exercise is sorely lacking.
While these quickie workouts are shortcuts that most people can't afford to take, the Harvard Health Letter acknowledges that brief bouts of activity like the ones promoted by these centers and books may be worthwhile for some. After all, a little exercise is better than none. Some research suggests that people could avoid weight gain by burning just 100 more calories a day—an extra 15 minutes of walking would do the trick.
The Harvard Health Letter recommends adding these short bursts of exercise into the day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking farther away from your destination.
If these programs help a few people who never exercise get off the couch, they're serving a healthful purpose. While in the market, people can do some comparison-shopping to find a program with a style and intensity level that suits the individual.