By Jemma Howlett
Working out is hard. It leads to sweat, soreness, and exhaustion, all of which can be pretty discouraging. Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, that it will make you healthier and feel better, but sometimes it can be difficult to find the time and motivation. So what if your workout only lasted 1 minute? Seems too good to be true, right?
You may have heard about HIIT (high intensity interval training) a lot lately; it’s a form of exercise that’s winning over athletes by the boatload. In a HIIT workout you alternate between periods of intense effort and rest or recovery periods. Intervals are not a new idea but fitness trends such as Cross Fit and SoulCycle are increasing the popularity of the workout style over the past couple years.
And now science is supporting HIIT. A study led by Martin Gibala, published in April 2016, found that 60 seconds of extreme training has equal cardiovascular benefits to 45 minutes of continuous, moderate exercise.
But this doesn’t mean that working out for long periods of time at a steady pace is bad for you; it’s just a less efficient form of exercise. So if you hate working out or are pressed for time, the 60-second workout may be right for you. But if you enjoy a long, sustained effort, there’s no harm in sticking to your current program.
These 60 seconds must be at an intense, running-from-a-tiger pace, but the results do suggest that more time does not equal greater benefits. What matters is how hard you go, not how long you go!
The participants in the study did not simply sprint for 60 seconds. They rode a stationary bike for 2 minutes to warm up and then pushed themselves for 20 seconds as hard as they could go. They repeated this cycle two more times exercising a total of ten minutes. You could do the same workout with running, swimming, biking outside, or even doing jumping jacks in your living room. With all of these exercises, the same HIIT principals and rewards should hold true.
So go forth and work out… for a minute.
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