In our busy lives free time is precious and often in short supply. We don't always have time for the gym workout. This research on speedy 20 minute work outs could be a option to help you get fit.
Exercise isn't a choice, it's a must. Movement is one of the key driving forces for brain activity giving us many benefits.
However, making time for hours of running, cycling or gym work is difficult, and perhaps impossible for those with children !
A recent study Gillen et al(1) found that 3 minutes of intense exercise per week has many health benefits. It is as effective as 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity training for increasing insulin sensitivity, cardio-respiratory fitness and skeletal muscle energy release in previously inactive men. In plain English, it gets you fitter just as fast as long sessions.
That's right, 3 x 20 second burst of maximum intensity cycling, separated by 2 minutes of low intensity cycling, a total commitment of 7 minutes 3 times per week. This gave the same benefits as a 45-minute session 3 times per week! Of course, you want to add on a warm up, and cool down so let's call it 3 x 20-minute sessions per week. Easy!
You don't have to own a bike, the same principle applies for any form of sprint interval training. You might choose to sprint for 20 seconds, perform squat jumps, burpees, skipping etc. It can be any exercise as long as it is maximal intensity.
Research suggests that your genes will have an influence on how much of a benefit you will receive. Huge gains can be acheived by some, but for others the benefit will be limited. However, variety is the spice of life and your health program should reflect that, so at the very least try to include some sprint training a couple of times per week.
Important: Please check with your chiropractor, health professional or sports therapist before performing high intensity exercise.
(1). Twelve Weeks of Sprint Interval Training Improves Indices of Cardiometabolic Health Similar to Traditional Endurance Training despite a Five-Fold Lower Exercise Volume and Time Commitment Jenna B. Gillen, Brian J. Martin, Martin J. MacInnis, Lauren E. Skelly, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, Martin J. Gibala Published: April 26, 2016 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154075
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