Exercise: Is One Minute all You Need?
Is one minute of all-out, intermittent exercise all you need to improve your fitness and health? According to a study published in PLOS ONE, it might be.
In the study, researchers at McMaster University in Ontario asked overweight or obese, but otherwise healthy, men and women to perform 18 exercise sessions over a six-week period on a cycle ergometer (a stationary bike with an ergometer, which measures the work done by the exerciser).
Each session consisted of three 20-second “all-out” intervals (totaling one minute), where the participants pedaled as hard as possible for 20 seconds, followed by two minutes of easy pedaling. These sessions started with a two-minute warm-up and ended with a three-minute cool-down, with the total time of the workout lasting 10 minutes.
Participants completed three of these 10-minute sessions each week for six weeks. They then went to a lab for testing. Researchers found that the men and women had both increased their endurance capacity by about 12 percent. Also, the group as a whole had healthier blood pressures.
While Whitney Mueller, a health fitness specialist and personal trainer at the TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion, agrees that fitting in exercise – even just for 10 minutes – is good for your health, “I don’t think I’d ever tell someone 10 minutes or one minute of exercise is going to help you lose weight. If anything, one minute would be to get people started and motivated to exercise.”
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Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck: Try an Interval Workout
On the other hand, she says interval workouts, which alternate periods of short, intense exercise – both cardiovascular and strength activities – with recovery periods, are a great way to burn calories for weight loss. “Some people don’t expect the benefits from weight training because the heart rate is probably slower, but you’re actually burning a lot more calories as you’re weight training and doing cardio,” she adds.