Get Fit in Seconds by 1-Minute Workout
Again and again, research shows that just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day helps manage weight, keeps your heart healthy, boosts your mood, and manages stress. However, according to an article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), 28 percent of Americans said they didn’t exercise during 2014. At all. Most Americans don’t get enough exercise in general – the CDC says only 49 percent of adults get enough aerobic exercise and even fewer met the requirements for muscle-strengthening.
Only have a few minutes? No problem
It’s a pretty sad picture, but until now, most people have hidden behind the excuse that they’re too busy. Since America has some of the longest working hours in the developed world, the idea people didn’t have enough time seemed pretty valid. However, a new study published in PLOS One shows that you only need a few minutes to get the full benefits of a 50-minute workout.
How to get the benefits: interval training
If you want to get the health and fitness benefits of a full workout in a matter of minutes, follow the routine of the study’s participants:
- Warm up for 2 minutes
- Go all out for 20 seconds (in the study the participants sprinted on stationary bikes, pushing their power to about 500 watts. To put that into perspective, you’d have to peddle over 30 mph. To get the benefits, you can do other types of exercise, they just have to be intense.)
- Return to a normal, sustainable pace for 2 minutes (The bike riders generated just 50 watts, or rode at about 10 or 11 mph in the study.)
- Workout intensely another 20 seconds
- Take it back to a sustainable pace for 2 minutes
- Final 20 seconds of intensity
- Cool down for 3 minutes
If about the thought of such heart-pounding intensity sounds uncomfortable, well, it might be – but only for 20 seconds. The entire routine only requires 10 minutes – 5 for warming up and cooling down, and 5 for the actual workout. Not bad. You could easily fit it in after work or in the morning.
Who can use this workout?
Although you should talk to your doctor before beginning any workout, especially if you have a high BMI or at risk for metabolic syndrome, this routine has the potential to work for everyone. The study wasn’t looking at super fit athletes, rather, they wanted to see how quick interval training could benefit the common, inactive, sedentary folks. The participants were between age 19 and 35 with a relatively high BMI, between 20 and 32.
What were the results of the study?
The study compared the interval workout group to another that just rode a bike for 45 minutes with their heart rates going at about 70 percent of the max. The second group also had a 2-fminute warm up and 3-minute cool down, so 50 minutes in total. There was also a third control group that didn’t exercise. All in all, the study was small, with 25 men.
After 12 weeks and about 32 sessions, the researchers found that both active groups had lost about the same amount of body fat, increased their peak oxygen intake by 19 percent.
The study also looked at risk factors for diabetes and other health issues, like glucose sensitivity and skeletal muscle mitochondrial content. Glucose sensitivity has to do with your body’s ability to use the sugar in your blood effectively as energy. People who have diabetes have high blood sugar levels because their bodies either can’t create enough insulin to process it, or they can’t use the insulin they do make properly.
The skeletal muscle mitochondrial content is related to glucose and diabetes, too. When the mitochondrial content is low, people generally react to insulin poorly – meaning their bodies can’t process the insulin they create in their pancreas very well, so the glucose in your blood just kind of stays there, instead of getting used as energy. Low mitochondrial content is also associated with poor metabolic factors like high blood pressure, excess belly fat, and high LDL cholesterol.
Both active groups improved in these factors, with the interval group increasing their glucose sensitivity by 54 percent (vs 34 percent in the 45-minute workout group).
What does all this mean?
It doesn’t take long workouts to achieve health and fitness goals. To get the full benefits of even a 50-minute workout you just need 10 minutes, one of which needs to be broken up into really intense activity.
Other things to consider
This finding is good news for people who really don’t have time for long workouts, but since it only looked at 25 men, more research is needed, and to see whether less intense interval training could have the same effect. It’s also important to remember that exercise is just one part of the picture when it comes to fitness. You also need to do strength training, eat right, get enough sleep, and find healthy outlets for your stress. Although this quick workout might help, there’s no substitute for living a healthy lifestyle overall.
Daisy Grace works as a freelance writer. She specializes in women’s health and also explores topics related to general health and beauty. Daisy loves studying the latest trends in health, fitness, diet, cosmetics and skin care, but her experience extends further than that. She writes on all aspects of women’s health and beauty skin care and also various product reviews.