A study was released today which says that a single minute of very intense exercise produces health benefits similar to longer, more traditional cardiovascular workouts. But can a one minute workout really make an impact?
Now, this information can become rather misleading if it isn’t reported accurately. It’s important that news outlets continue on past the headline to explain that the “health benefits” of the one minute workout they studied include cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity. While those are vital health benefits, it should be noted that this study does not mention physical endurance, nor does it mention calorie or fat burn, two more vital health benefits of exercise. The reporting of this “one minute workout” study makes it seem as though you can get up from the sofa, run for 60 seconds, and call it a day. Yet one single minute of exercise, no matter how hard the body works, is not going to help with endurance or burn significant calories.
One of the more recent trends in fitness has been high intensity interval training (HIIT) and Tabata style workouts. If done correctly, these workouts can provide exceptional efficiency, with short periods of all-out work followed by short periods of active rest, making the body work harder overall than it does during a more traditional steady cardiovascular exercise. My husband and several of my friends have been doing these types of workouts lately. They are definitely torching the calories, and enjoying their time. Though it’s important to mention that these are hour long classes (or more).
While I certainly believe that there is merit to this research and that there absolutely are benefits to doing a short workout over no workout, these findings shouldn’t be misconstrued. In other words, you can’t get off that sofa, run in place for 60 seconds, and call it a day. Nor does a quick sprint up and down the driveway mean that you can head back inside for a donut. It doesn’t work like that. However, if you find that day is packed and you can’t get to the gym, you can improvise with tasks such as running the stairs during your lunch break. Or when you get home from work you can do a shorter yet intense workout rather than none at all.
What this study tells us is that an interval-based approach to exercise can, in fact, be extremely efficient, and that sure is fantastic news for people who are time-strapped. (And aren’t we all, really?) Those brief bursts of intense exercise can be remarkably effective for cardiovascular health.
Want some tips for what you can do to get a quick burst of exercise even when time seems limited?
* Jump rope. Not only is jumping rope inexpensive, it provides exceoptional health benefits. (Read here to learn more.) There are jump ropes on the market today that have counters in the handles, so you never have to keep track of how many jumps you’ve done. You can even use a weighted jump rope for a more intense workout.
* Do a short but intense workout video. With a DVD player, any room in the house (or hotel) can become a gym. I have already mentioned several times on this site that I was absolutely floored by the intensity and effectiveness of the Metabolic Aftershock Workout. I’ve recommended it to several people who all now love it too. In each video there is a 2 minute warmup, followed by a 15 minute workout, plus an optional 5 minute shred video. Click here to learn more.
Other very popular videos are P90X3, where they say you can get shredded in just 30 minutes a day. I have two friends, one man and one woman, with whom I have literally seen this happen. They both look fantastic. Others fantastic options from the same company are INSANITY MAX:30, known as the craziest 30 minutes of your day for the Best Results of your life, and FOCUS T25 for getting an hour’s worth of results in just 25 minutes.
* Get online. With Daily Burn, you can get access to their entire library of workouts for a small monthly fee. There’s an impressive variety choose from, on those days when you don’t have a lot of time, you can just select one of the quicker workouts!
* Use your home equipment. Of course, a jump rope qualifies as home equipment, but if you are perpetually lacking time to exercise, you may also want to invest in something larger, such as a TreadClimber or Bowflex Max Trainer. (By the way, right now through 05/16 you can get 10% off with FREE shipping on the TC200 or 10% OFF with $50 shipping on the TC100 at Bowflex.com using the code: SPRINGFIT at checkout. We’ve had our home treadmill from ProForm for almost eighteen years, use it all the time, and it works like it’s brand new! If all of those options aren’t your preference, you can also go with a Precor elliptical machine or exercise bike. There’s lots of fantastic home equipment to choose from.
So, if all you have is a minute, use it wisely. But if you can find more time, you’ll reap the rewards. Time to get moving!
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