A study published in the journal PLOS One by scientists at McMaster University revealed that just one minute of strenuous exercise produces the same health and fitness results as 45 minutes of moderate exercise. Is it accurate? Well, we hope so, because we took a moment to count up how much time we’ve wasted in the gym during our lives and we’ll never get those 12 minutes back.
The scientists devised an experiment made up of 25 young men with poor fitness (think Ralph from The Simpsons body types). The researchers measured their current fitness level, their body’s use of insulin, and how their muscles functioned at a cellular level. The men were then divided into three groups:
- Group 1: Changed nothing about their routine; the continued to be couch potatoes and walking blobs.
- Group 2: They rode a stationary bike for 45 minutes, including a two-minute warm-up and three-minute cool down.
- Group 3: They did 10 minutes of interval training, consisting of sprints on a stationary bicycle (at 20 seconds a clip), only one minute of which involved strenuous activity.
- As noted by the Charlotte Observer:
The upshot of these results is that three months of concerted endurance or interval exercise can notably — and almost identically — improve someone’s fitness and health.
- Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University told the Observer:
“It depends on who you are and why you exercise. If you are an elite athlete, then obviously incorporating both endurance and interval training into an overall program maximizes performance. But if you are someone, like me, who just wants to boost health and fitness and you don’t have 45 minutes or an hour to work out, our data show that you can get big benefits from even a single minute of intense exercise.”