Researchers Show How Ridiculously Little Time You Need to Benefit From Your Workout

by DailyHealthPost


Poor fitness is often blamed on lack of time.

In an effort to combat this obstacle, a group of scientists conducted a study to find out whether just one minute of intense exercise could improve people’s health.

Their results were fascinating. 

“People often cite lack of time as their primary reason for not exercising,” said Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University and the leader of the study.

As reported by the New York Times, Gibala and his McMaster University colleagues found 14 obese individuals to participate in their six-week study. Aside from being overweight, these men and women were healthy.

Three times a week, the volunteers pedaled away on a digital stationary bike at the following intervals:

  • Two-minute warm-up.
  • 20 seconds of extreme pedalling
  • 2 minutes of easy-riding
  • 20 seconds of extreme pedalling
  • 2 minutes of easy-riding
  • 20 seconds of extreme pedalling
  • Three-minute cool-down.

The workout added up to 10 minutes per day and just 30 minutes a week.


As noted in the McMaster study, the daily minute of intense exercise changed the participants fitness levels significantly. Their endurance capacity increased by 12 percent on average and blood pressure levels were healthier. The men in the study also experienced improvements in blood sugar control, but the same could not be said about the females.

“The difference between the sexes in this instance might be significant. We still have a lot of research to do before we’re sure,” said Gabala.

These are the shortest intense exercise intervals proven to be effective in fitness training so far. Gabala doubts that intervals shorter than 20 seconds could produce similar results.

“For some, 30-second intervals prove to be excruciating. Most of us, however, can complete 20-second all-out efforts without wishing to cry,” Gabala said. Halving the intervals again, however, to 10-second efforts, probably would not provide the same benefits.

According to Gabala, “any intense cardio exercise will do.”

“Sprint up stairs in 20-second bursts, or even run hard in place. The point is that time constraints shouldn’t keep anyone from exercise,” Gabala concluded.

sources: New York Times, PlosOne,

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