Busy lifestyles have brought us the common excuse that we don’t have enough time to exercise.
However, there is a way to overcome lack of time by doing an intense exercise totalling just 10 minutes.
McMaster University researchers suggest that we can get similar benefits from a few minutes intense exercise as we get from longer, continuous workouts.
Professor Martin Gibala, the lead author of this study, said:
“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.”
The research team decided to compare the effect of sprint interval training (SIT) with moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT).
They recruited a group of sedentary men to complete three weekly sessions for 12 weeks.
They were divided into a control group with no exercise and moderate or intense training groups.
The researchers measured the key health indicators of insulin sensitivity and cardio-respiratory fitness in both the moderate and intense training groups.
The SIT protocol and MIC protocol involved two minutes of warm up and 3 minutes cool down of easy cycling.
The difference was that SIT involved 3×20-second ‘all-out’ cycle sprints at 500W mixed in with 2 minutes cycling at 50W while MIC involved 45 minutes cycling at a moderate pace (110W).
After 12 weeks of training these two group showed astonishingly similar results, suggesting that the SIT protocol — one minute of intense exercise within a total 10 minute commitment — is as effective as 50 minutes moderate exercise.
One possible explanation for this amazing effect may be related to the intensity of energy usage in a short period.
Professor Gibala, who has done various studies on interval training over more than a decade, suggested:
“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.”
This study was published in the journal PLOS ONE (Gillen et al., 2016).