To Your Health

One Minute To Fitness?

Updated 3 years ago Peter McCarthy
Jogging for Weight Loss and Fitness
Jogging for Weight Loss and Fitness
Source: Wikipedia / Creative Commons License

As time-challenged New Yorkers, we struggle with multiple demands flying at us from every direction. The desire to get or stay fit is probably one of them. 

If so, relief is at hand, according to a new study that suggests you can get the same benefits from sixty seconds - yes, sixty seconds, one minute - of interval training as you can from forty-five minutes of moderate exercise.

Hard to believe? 

You bet it is, but in a article by Gretchen Reynolds for the New York Times, promising details are reported from a rigorous study by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. 

Twenty-five unfit men were divided into three groups. A control group was told to continue whatever they were doing or, more precisely, not doing.

The remaining men divided into two groups, one devoted to moderate exercise, the other to less conventional interval training.

For twelve weeks, the moderates rode stationary bikes for forty-five minutes three times a week. 

The intervals group rode for only ten minutes, but for three times during each session, they broke out into sprints, pedaling as hard as possible for twenty seconds. That is, ten minutes on the bike with one minute broken up into three brief, intense intervals.

At the end of training, the interval group had exercised for only six total hours over three months, with just six minutes of it taken up by strenuous intervals, compared to 27 hours for the moderate exercisers.

Take heart. The aerobic results for both moderate and interval trainers were identical in spite of the huge difference in time spent.

Oh, and the control group preserved their lack of fitness earned through years of inactivity.

But there is a catch. Isn’t there always? It’s this:

If you’re like me, one reason — maybe the main reason — you got into a serious exercise program was because you tired of dodging full length mirrors. 

Aerobic fitness can be achieved with less effort and in much less time. That seems certain. But will you shed those pounds that nudged the scales higher while you pursued a career, enjoyed dinners out with friends and binge watched Netflix?

Sadly, nothing in this or any other study suggests that.

While you exult at the prospect of time saved, keep in mind that the standard advice remains unchanged. Weight control means exercise plus a healthy diet.

Now that your aerobic fitness is about to improve and you can save so much valuable time, you are free to spend some of it figuring out how to perfect your waistline.

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