NEWS that fewer repetitions during workouts could yield better results will doubtless be welcomed by many of us seeking to become fit promptly.

The sting in the tail of research by University of Stirling scientists is that it refers to high-intensity interval training, and that you will have to get on your specialised exercise bike for a “supramaximal” sprint. There is no way of getting round it.

Or is there? Perhaps we need to walk before we can sprint, and what better place to do that than on the John Muir Way, which has been recognised as one of Scotland’s Great Trails.

The prestigious Scottish Natural Heritage accolade honours the 134-mile route that stretches across Scotland’s heartland from Helensburgh in the west to Dunbar in the east.

Dunbar was the birthplace of Muir, who pioneered conservation and is often referred to as the father of national parks. He helped save Yosemite Valley and was credited with saving America’s soul from total surrender to materialism.

He once said: “I could have become a millionaire, but chose instead to become a tramp.”

No one would be expected to tramp the whole 134 miles of Scotland’s John Muir Way in one go and, as it takes in castles and a plethora of interesting towns and villages, the best approach might be to walk it in short bursts.

After all, life is a marathon, not a sprint.

The health benefits of walking are proven. But this new research into high-intensity interval training also sounds like it is on the ball.

Indeed, the general principle of short, intense sprints would presumably apply to other gym exercises beyond exercise-biking.

The long and the short of it is that, if you can combine short cycle sprints in the gym with a good, long walk on the likes of the John Muir Way, you will be doing your body and your soul a power of good.