A new series of 40-day fitness programs coordinated by the University of South Australia are starting this week to find out the answer.
The programs aim to give participants 40-days of intensive support to show them how increasing their exercise time can make a significant improvement to their overall health and fitness.
“It’s all about kick-starting a new lifestyle for participants,” said Human Movement Program Director Scott Polley.
“Many of our participants have been relatively inactive for a very long time, so we provide a very supportive program that eases them into the exercise.
“When people start a new exercise program alone, they can essentially go too hard too soon and end up with an injury.”
In the latest series of 40-day fitness programs, participants will be randomly divided into one of two groups each with a separate focus – outdoor adventure exercise and group exercise.
“With the outdoor adventure exercise group we will be getting them to do activities such as orienteering, bushwalking and canoeing,” Polley said.
“In the group exercise program, participants will be exercising together in a group to reach their own goals as well as the group’s fitness goals.
“We want to know whether changing the way we conduct a 40-day program makes a difference to people staying with it for the duration.”
UniSA has been running the 40-day research exercise programs for several years with positive results.
“After 40 days, participants have reduced their fitness age by an average of 13 years,” Polley said. “It doesn’t have to be all about weight loss to see considerable health gains.
“The average weight loss is about 1.5kg but you don’t need weight loss to get health gains. It’s not a waste of time, it is still doing them a lot of good and we see enormous gains in cholesterol and fitness.”