One Minute Of Exercise Same As 45 Minutes Of Exercise, Says Study

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One Minute Of Exercise Same As 45 Minutes Of Exercise

I was pretty inactive until last year when I joined a gym and started doing water aerobics. Now, along with my water exercise classes, I also ride the bike, do the weight machines and take a workout class. Exercising takes a lot of time and you have to schedule it into your day or it's very easy to blow off. But I have to admit: I feel so much better.

High-intensity interval training, such as the seven-minute workout and the Tabata Protocol, are extremely popular. And it turns out, for good reason.

A recent study published in PLOS found that one minute of all-out exercise provides the same health benefits as the longer, traditional endurance training. 

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

For the study, Gibala and his team recruited 27 men living a sedentary lifestyle and divided them into three groups. Two of the groups were asked to do three weekly exercise sessions for 12 weeks. The first group did sprint interval training and the second group did moderate-intensity continuous training. The third group didn't exercise at all. 

While the moderate-intensity continuous training involved five times as much exercise and a five-fold increase in time commitment, the results after 12 weeks of training were similar among the men in the high-intensity workout group and the moderate exercise group.

Sprint interval training improved both insulin sensitivity and endurance by 20 percent. It also improved energy production and oxygen consumption in the men's muscles. 

"Most people cite 'lack of time' as the main reason for not being active," Gibala said. "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 has been studying interval training for over 10 years and was the first researcher to show that a few minutes per week of intense exercise produces benefits that are comparable to longer continuous workouts.

"The basic principles apply to many forms of exercise," Gibala explained. "Climbing a few flights of stairs on your lunch hour can provide a quick and effective workout. The health benefits are significant."

Doing any kind of exercise is great, but if you're pressed for time, go for the higher intensity workouts.