Super short workouts can be surprisingly effective

Super short workouts can be surprisingly effective
Placeholder while article actions load

It sounds like one of those outrageous infomercial claims — get fitter and healthier from as little as one minute of exercise. But In this case, the assertion isn’t too good to be true. There’s now a strong body of research showing that even workouts of 10 minutes or less can produce real and meaningful results, says Jenna Gillen, an exercise physiologist at the University of Toronto. Gillen’s work has shown that even a one-minute bout of exercise, done right, can improve your fitness and health.

Of course there’s a caveat: to get results from such short workouts, you have to be willing to push yourself hard, Gillen says. Numerous studies have shown that intense interval training protocols can get results from relatively short workouts. Gillen and her colleagues at McMaster University wanted to know just how short that workout can be.

The answer, from a study they did in 2016 was: one minute of intense exercise in a workout lasting 10 minutes total (including the warm up and cool down), three times per week.

Even a little exercise can mean big improvements in your health

Gillen’s team randomly assigned participants to three groups. One pedaled an exercise bike at a moderate level of effort for 45 minutes, three times per week. A second group did thrice weekly the 10-minute workouts that included three segments of 20 seconds of all-out sprint cycling, for a total of one high-intensity minute each workout. (The rest of the time was easy spinning.) A third group served as a control and did nothing.

After 12 weeks, both exercise groups had improved their insulin resistance and also increased their fitness (as measured by their capacity to use oxygen during exercise) by about 19 percent. The gains were similar between

Read More