A packed schedule may no longer be a reason to avoid working out. According to a “sophisticated” study highlighted by New York Times reporter Gretchen Reynolds, one minute of grueling exercise has comparable physiological effects to 45 minutes of a moderate workout.
Scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario came to this perplexing conclusion by testing 25 out-of-shape young men. One group engaged in a typical endurance-workout routine (45 minutes of cycling on a stationary bike at a moderate pace). Another group employed a stationary bike interval training routine that consisted of a two-minute warm up, 20 seconds of all-out sprinting, two minutes of cycling at a slow pace, another 20-second sprint, another two-minute recovery, a final 20-second sprint and then a three-minute cool-down. All of the sprints combined totalled 60 seconds of extreme exertion.
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After performing their workouts three times per week for 12 weeks, the endurance group had cycled for 27 hours and the interval group had cycled for six hours.
The shocking discovery? Participants in both groups showed nearly identical improvements in aerobic fitness, muscle and blood-sugar control.
While this is certainly not the first study to show the benefits of high-intensity interval training, this is one of the first studies that closely compares it with endurance exercise.
The fact that one can see major health and fitness benefits from just a single minute of great exertion is huge. Even we could workout for one minute.