Report: To Lose Weight, Exercise Less. A Lot Less

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

To lose weight, exercise less? That's the conclusion a team of Danish scientists reached after monitoring men's exercise habits for 13 weeks. Men who worked out for a half-hour each day fared better at weight loss than those putting in a full hour — but it's not that there's something magical about the 30-minute mark. Rather, the researchers found a full hour of exercise was just too much; those who worked out for shorter time periods had more energy and motivation to stick with their exercise plans and other healthy habits.

The takeaway from this study seems to be don't push yourself too hard. And that makes sense. We've all seen someone on a super strict diet lose their shit and start scarfing down French fries at the first wavering of willpower. Meanwhile, a more moderate approach to healthy eating usually yields less desire to "rebel."

But back to exercise: why work out for 30 minutes...when you could work out for seven minutes? Think of all the extra motivation that would give you! Heck, you might even start flossing.

A 7-minute workout sounds silly, but a study from earlier this year determined that you could get the perfect workout in precisely that amount of time. In it, researchers from Florida's Human Performance Institute pinpointed a series of 12 short but super-intense exercise moves that could be combined to hit all major workout targets. And making it even more amazing? You don't even need any fancy equipment and it can be done just about anywhere.

The approach, which combines aerobic activity with body weight resistance moves, is known as high-intensity interval training, or circuit training. According to their calculations, you can reap all sorts of the health benefits from exercising with a daily dose of the following 12 moves:

1. Jumping jacks

2. Wall sits

3. Push-ups

4. Abdominal crunches

5. Chair steps

6. Squats

7. Triceps dips on a chair

8. Planks

9. Running in place with high knees

10. Lunges

11. Rotating push ups

12. Side planks

Each move should be done at a high intensity for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds to transition between moves. The whole thing can be repeated two to three times for increased benefits. Check out the 7-minute workout app here.