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A Minute Of All-Out Exercise May Be Good Enough

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Many people say they can't work out because they don't have time. A new study found that a minute of all-out exercise may be good enough. So, what's your excuse?

A 60-second sprint coupled with 9 minutes of light exercise delivers the same health and fitness improvements as a 50-minute moderate workout, a new study suggested. You read that right - fitness in just 60 seconds!

Sprint interval training (SIT) is a type of workout strategy where people alternate short high-intensity workout with longer, low-intensity recovery time. It is also called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE).

This is when someone goes "all-out" (think beast mode) on a workout routine such as sprinting for 60 seconds and then walking to recover. For people trying to improve their fitness levels but can't commit to a regular workout routine, this type of exercise will make people run out of excuses.

"Most people cite 'lack of time' as the main reason for not being active. 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," said lead study author and kinesiology professor Martin Gibala from McMaster University in Canada.

The researchers enrolled 27 men who had no previous exercise routine prior to the study. They were asked randomly to do an endurance workout or a sprint interval workout. In the span of 12 weeks, the men did their assigned exercise routine three sessions per week on a stationary bike. A small group, who served as controls, were not asked to do any of the exercises.

The sprint interval workout followed this order: a 2-minute warmup, a 20-second all-out sprint, a 2-minute slow pace recovery, another 20-second sprint, a 2-minute recovery, last 20-second sprint, and finally a 3-minute cool down.

On the other hand, the endurance workout went like this: a 2-minute warm up, a 45-minute moderate pace ride, and a 3-minute cool down.

After 12 weeks, the two groups both showed a 19 percent increase on their VO2 peak test, which analyzes the highest oxygen amount the body consumes every 30 seconds spent working out. They also showed improvement in their insulin sensitivity tests. Lastly, their muscle tissue biopsy indicated improved muscle functions.

The findings were published in the PLOS ONE journal on April 26. There you have it. If you have 10 minutes to spare, sprint your way to better fitness.

Photo: Kurt Bauschardt | Flickr

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