While it might sound too good to be true, new research from Canada published online Tuesday, April 27 in the journal PLoS One suggests that one minute of high-intensity physical exercise a day three times a week can be enough to get a person in shape, according to Live Science. As the Lincoln Journal Star reports, one minute can, potentially, boost one’s health “as much as 45 minutes of a moderate workout.”
The key to the one minute approach to exercising is that the “one minute” must be spent doing high-intensity exercise. The approach can work, if “an interval-based [intense] approach” to exercise is taken. People who say they “just do not have the time to exercise” no longer have very much of a legitimate excuse to avoid working out.
The study’s lead author was Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The results of the study indicated that a short, minute-long interval-based approach to exercise can be “efficient,” giving people “health and fitness benefits comparable to the traditional approach, in less time.”
The study was a small one, involving 25 men who were inactive. They were split into three different groups, one of nine men that did intense but short interval-based workouts three times a week, a second of ten men that did moderate workouts three times a week, and a third of six men that was a control group, that did not exercise during the 12-week-long period.
While the “interval-based” part of the workouts involving intense physical activity done three times a week in the study was just one minute each of the three days it was done per week, the overall amount of time spent doing exercises, including warming up for two minutes, a two-minute-long recovery time and a three-minute cooling down time, was more like 10 minutes. The particular type of physical exercise the men participated in was sprint interval training.
The group of men who did the sprint interval training rode exercise bikes and did three “all-out” sprints on them, of 20 seconds each. First, though, the men warmed up and stretched for two minutes. Besides the three-minute cooling down time included, the men also rode the exercise bikes in two-minute-long “easy cycling” stretches between the sprints, as the “recovery time” mentioned.
The men in the moderate physical exercise workout group rode the exercise bikes 45 minutes three days a week, but not going all-out, just at a moderate pace. They also spent the same time warming up and cooling down as the men in the sprint interval group.
The results of the intense interval training done by the group of men doing “one minute” workouts after 12 weeks compared to the group that did moderate workouts of 45 minutes a day three days a week indicated that both of the groups of men who exercised had the same measures of heart/lung fitness and of “insulin sensitivity, which measures how well the body responds to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar,” according to Live Science.
Though the study involved riding exercise bikes, Gibala mentioned that other types of intense physical exercise would provide the same sorts of results. One example he gave was using a minute of one’s lunch time at work to climb a few flights of stairs. Working out with kettlebells or barbells or jumping rope would be other possible examples.
Overall during the 12-week-long time period, according to ModVive, the participants in the sprint interval training group spent 30 minutes exercising. By comparison, the 10 men in the moderate physical exercise group spent 150 minutes of time.
One minute of intense physical exercise three times a week might be enough for a person to get into shape and see health benefits, according to the study published on Tuesday April 27. However, the study was limited because the participants were all male, the numbers of subjects was small and not all people might be healthy enough to exercise all-out for an entire minute at a time or be motivated enough to continue with the program of interval-based physical exercise for 12 weeks. The researchers also did not include in the study long-term benefits of interval training, just focusing on short-term health benefits. Still, the results were promising, and indicate that it might not be necessary to spend hours at a gym each month in order to see health benefits related to physical exercise. For more CDA News, follow our tweets on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
By John Samuels