Just One Minute of Intense Exercise Can Improve Your Health, Says New Study

Researchers saw significant improvement in subjects' health after six weeks of the minimalist program

Flickr/alpseecamping/Daniel Zangerl

It's a common complaint, a worn out crutch, our main excuse—we don't have time to work out. But what if all you needed to make a workout worthwhile was a single minute of intense exercise?

No, this is not an infomercial; it’s what researchers at McMaster University in Ontario found in their recent study.

According to the study, just a single minute of intense exercise within an easy 10 minute routine, improved the health and fitness of the participants when done three times per week.

The researchers asked 14 overweight men and women to participate in the program to determine if even very short amounts of exercise would be worthwhile. A typical high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout might take a half hour, but the participants were asked to workout for a total of 10 minutes per day, with three short 20 second bursts of intense exercise. Using stationary bikes, the participants exercised three times a week, over the course of six weeks.

At the end of the six weeks, researchers measured their progress; they saw significant improvement in the participants’ endurance (12 percent) and the group of participants had healthier blood pressures. There was also mitochondrial evidence that there was more activity in the participants' muscles.

Though it’s clear that 10 minutes of exercise, three times per week is not the ideal amount of activity, the study sends an encouraging message—every little bit helps. Even if that little bit is just one intense minute.


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