NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new study out of Canada found that less may be more when it comes to children and exercise.

Research from the Manitoba Institute of Child Health found that just seven minutes of high intensity exercise like running is more effective than one to two hours of lighter exercise like going on the swings, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday.

The study followed 600 school children for a year and found the ones who engaged in as little as seven minutes of that high intensity exercise lost inches off their waistline, while students who only engaged in low intensity exercise for longer periods of time had no measurable benefits.

The study has been met by some with a dose of skepticism.

“I think seven minutes is great, if everybody could do it. I think the article talked about the ‘magic pill.’ If we had a magic pill that would be great, but there’s no such magic pill for physical activity,” said Plainview/Old Bethpage athletic director Tom Howard.

The current recommendations for children are for 30 to 60 minutes of activity per day. The study’s author said his research showed the emphasis should be more on vigorous exercise.

“We don’t want to say that you only need seven minutes and that you can disregard the rest of your day. If within the activity you’re getting, the more you can focus on the vigorous side the more likely you are to have a lower risk for obesity or overweight or a lower risk for high blood pressure,” said Dr. Jonathan McGavock with the Manitoba Institute of Child Health.

The researchers said adults could also benefit from the study’s findings by engaging in shorter bursts of vigorous exercise. However, some experts said that advice flies in the face of their usual recommendations.

“It takes time to work out. This is not easy to do, that’s why they call it working out. There is no quick fix,” fitness trainer Bobby Blaney told Gusoff.

And cardiologists have different concerns about the new study.

“If we do burst exercise, there might be deleterious effects, there might be bad heart rhythms,” said Dr. David Friedman with
Northshore LIJ Plainview Hospital.

However, one area where all sides agree is that it is best to get kids moving.

The researchers emphasized that seven minutes is the minimum time needed to experience the health benefits they saw in the study.

What do you think about this new study? Will you encourage your kids to do seven minutes of higher intensity exercise? Share your thoughts below.

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