1 minute of exercise

Got a Minute? That May Be All You Need to Be in Better Shape

If you have a minute to spare, and most of us do, that may be all you need to receive the same benefits as a much longer aerobic workout.

A recent study published in the journal of PLOS One remarkably found that just one minute of vigorous exercise three times a week will benefit your health the same as exercising the standard recommendation of conventional endurance training. Currently, the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans advises adults to exercise a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week, or a combination of the two. Less than half of adults in the United States meet these guidelines.

This new study may turn the tables on people who claim they are “too busy” or “don’t have enough time” for exercise. The research in this study challenges that notion of “lack of time” as the findings show short bursts of intense exercise to be very beneficial and equivalent to longer endurance exercise.

Comparing Short Burst Activity with Longer Activity

The researchers in a previous study had found sprint interval training (SIT), a type of brief burst of intense exercise to be very effective for inducing health benefits. SIT is a training program of doing 20-seconds of “all out” cycle sprints followed by 2 minutes of low-intensity cycling and then repeated.

For 12 weeks the new study, using 27 sedentary men, did a comparison between SIT and a moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) program. The MICT program is a 50-minute program including a 2-minute warm-up followed by 45 minutes of continuous cycling at a moderate pace with a 3-minutes cool down. Some of the men were split into two groups assigned either to three weekly sessions of SIT training or MICT training while the rest were assigned as a control group that did not exercise.

Results of the Study

The results from the 12-week study demonstrated that SIT training is just as effective as MICT training. The reason for this conclusion was that the two groups of men using either SIT or MICT training experienced similar health benefits. The improvements seen were increased cardiorespiratory fitness, better blood sugar regulation and increased levels of mitochondria in skeletal muscle.

Mitochondria help generate chemical energy, similar to the type of energy you get from a battery. They are often referred to as powerhouses of the cells generating the energy our cells need to do their work.

How to Apply to Your Lifestyle

If you tend to use the excuse of not being able to find time to exercise, this study should be welcomed news proving that getting in better shape doesn’t necessarily mean long hours working out. This interval-based approach is a much more efficient and just as effective means of achieving improved health and fitness benefits.

Carving a minute out of your day is not asking much. Utilizing the SIT principles of training will do your body a huge favor. SIT training can be one way to help reduce the risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, along with other chronic conditions. So, got a minute?  Make that minute count and begin using SIT training.

David Samadi, MD - Medical Contributor

View posts by David Samadi, MD - Medical Contributor
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel's Medical A-Team. Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi's blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
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