You can’t do much in a minute. Maybe brush your teeth or ride up the elevator to work, but you can’t do anything in 60 seconds that’s necessarily influential. Or can you?
When it comes to exercise, a 1-minute workout might be all you need to start impacting your health and fitness. Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario found in a recent study that just three minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT), within longer workouts (warm up and cool down periods), per week may influence your body for the better.
Can You Really Benefit From a 1-minute workout?
HIIT training calls for repeated bursts of exercise embedded within a longer workout. The idea is to use at least 80 percent of your maximum heart rate for a quick burst, then go back to a slower pace.
There is no set time for how long you should max out, though one popular form is Tabata (coined by Izumi Tabata during his work on Olympic speed skaters in the 1990s), which calls for 20 seconds of intense training and then 10 seconds off.
The research, lead by Martin Giabala PhD., studied 14 volunteers before and after a six-week training program. The subjects were asked to complete just one minute of HIIT within a 10-minute workout, three times per week.
Each session was comprised of three, 20-second bursts of all-out cycling, followed by two minutes of slower pedaling.
At the end of the training programs, subjects showed a marked improvement in their cardiometabolic health (their risk of diabetes and heart disease), blood pressure, and VO2 max, and skeletal muscle oxidative capacity (how quickly your muscles can utilize oxygen for energy).
Men also showed reduced blood sugar levels.
Previous research supports Giabala’s findings that even short sessions of HIIT will benefit you during the week.
One study revealed even 10-second bursts of sprinting followed by two- or four-minute recovery periods (three times a week, starting with four bouts per session) improved both anaerobic and aerobic performance.
Another study also found that HIIT improved aerobic and anaerobic performance, and could increase the protein content within our cells.
These are promising findings, given the limited time commitment subjects had to make. Though this doesn’t mean you should only exercise for 30 minutes a week. The subjects didn’t report weight loss or improvements in muscle strength. However, if you are short on time, it’s good to know that a bit of HIIT training can still benefit you.
To find out more about HIIT, click here to find out how maxing out can take your fitness to the next level.