Transform your metabolic health in just 12 minutes a day

It’s no secret that I’m an avid proponent of exercise. And I realize I might sound like a broken record when I bring it up time and again. But I talk about it on a regular basis here in the Reality Health Check and in my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter because it’s just that important to your health. And by sharing research on the topic, my hope is that you, too, will make it a central part of your life.  

It’s also why I always try to emphasize the fact that it’s never too early or too late to get startedAfter all, doing something—anything—is better than doing nothing.  

In fact, new research reveals that even short bursts of exercise deliver a significant boost to key metabolites linked to longevity 

It only takes 12 minutes 

A recent study out of the Massachusetts General Hospital showed that you can shift more than 80 percent of key metabolites with just 12 minutes of exercise.  

Researchers looked at the levels of upwards of 600 circulating metabolites—tied to factors such as insulin resistance, oxidative stress, epithelial function, and inflammation—in more than 400 middle-aged subjects both before and after 12 minutes of vigorous exercise.  

Among the most noteworthy results:  

  • Glutamate—a metabolite linked to heart disease, diabetes, and premature death—dropped by nearly 30 percent. 
  • DMGV—another metabolite with links to diabetes and liver disease—dropped by nearly 20 percent. 

The researchers also found evidence that obesity, however, interfered with these results—and partially reduced these dramatic benefits. (Yet another reason to keep your waistline in check this year.) 

Exercise is powerful medicine 

What makes this study really interesting, at least to me, is that we’ve already got tons of research looking at exercise’s benefits to your heart, your circulatory system, and your body’s inflammatory responses.  

But this study specifically looked at the chemical, metabolic impact that exercise has on your health. (And the results really shouldn’t come as a surprise.) 

All of this information is helping to give the scientific community a better understanding of the very specific ways that exercise alters the body. And because of it, we may be witnessing the dawn of a new age of exercise as medicine—with targeted prescriptions for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and more.  

Meaning that, pretty soon, you may be able to walk into your doctors office and get a snapshot of metabolic and physical fitness in the same way your liver and kidney function is evaluated—with a simple blood test. 

This is truly exciting work—but I don’t need to point out that these changes aren’t going to happen overnight. In the meantime, we just need to keep moving in the most effective ways that we know how.  

Again, and as this study shows, even a little goes an incredibly long way. So…watch one less TV show. Go on a hike or an after-dinner walk. If you’re still working from home, devote the time you would have spent in the car to be active. Whatever you do, commit to it… and just do it! 


“Bursts of exercise can lead to significant improvements in indicators of metabolic health.” Science Daily, 11/16/2020. (