How many times have you put off exercising because you simply can’t find the time? I do it far too often. But what if you could work out for just one minute and still get the health benefits of a 45-minute work out? Sounds too good to be true, right?
According to a new study, published in PLOS One, exercise scientists at McMaster University found that as little as one minute of intense exercise could have the same health benefits — in terms of heart health, respiratory fitness and muscles — as a moderate-intensity 45-minute workout.
Granted, those 60 seconds have to be at a sprint-like pace, as if you’re being chased down by a tiger and fueled by adrenaline. But it’s just 60 seconds. “I think there is good evidence that shows you can see comparable benefits despite the fact that intervals require less total exercise and reduced time commitment,” said Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and lead author on the study.
Here’s the thing. The study isn’t encouraging you to do one intense minute of exercise and be done with it.
“In the study, the people in the interval group rode stationary bikes for two minutes to warm up, then pushed themselves to ride as fast as they could for 20 seconds, then rode more slowly for two minutes and repeated this pattern two more times for a total of 10 minutes,” Time explains.
Because many people cite “lack of time” as a reason for not exercising, Gibala — who has studied interval training for the past decade — says this research should give hope to people who use their busy schedule as an excuse to not sweat it out in the gym.
“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,” Gibala said in a press release. “The basic principles apply to many forms of exercise. Climbing a few flights of stairs on your lunch hour can provide a quick and effective workout. The health benefits are significant.”
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