Want to Get Fit? It Only Takes a Minute, Say Some

Face it.  We've heard it all.

Do 10 sit-ups in 10 minutes and lose 30 pounds.  Walk a quarter mile and have the heart of a 20-year-old.  

Now they're saying one minute of exercise can do it.

According to newswise.com, it may be one minute but it's a minute of vigorous, heart-thumping exercise.  You know, the kind where you think you're going to have a heart attack.  This happened to me recently on the arc trainer, what seems like a stair-climbing elliptical (I have yet to figure out what exactly it is, but what I do know is it's the only exercise I can do 10 minutes of and feel like my blood pressure has shot off the charts).

Researchers at McMaster University have found that a single minute of very intense exercise produces health benefits similar to longer, traditional endurance training.

“This is a very time-efficient workout strategy,” says Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and lead author on the study. “Brief bursts of intense exercise are remarkably effective.”

Scientists set out to determine how sprint interval training (SIT) compared to moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT), as recommended in public health guidelines. They examined key health indicators including cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity, a measure of how the body regulates blood sugar.

A total of 27 sedentary men were recruited and assigned to perform three weekly sessions of either intense or moderate training for 12 weeks, or to a control group that did not exercise.

The McMaster team has previously shown that the SIT protocol, which involved three 20-second ‘all-out’ cycle sprints, was effective for boosting fitness. The workout totaled just 10 minutes, including a 2-minute warm-up and 3-minute cool down, and two minutes of easy cycling for recovery between the hard sprints.
The new study compared the SIT protocol with a group who performed 45 minutes of continuous cycling at a moderate pace, plus the same warm-up and cool down. After 12 weeks of training, the results were remarkably similar, even though the MICT protocol involved five times as much exercise and a five-fold greater time commitment.

“Most people cite ‘lack of time’ as the main reason for not being active”, according to Gibala. “Our study shows that an interval-based approach can be more efficient — you can get health and fitness benefits comparable to the traditional approach, in less time.”

If you can survive it.  



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