Intensity, not Duration, Key to Good Workout

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“Lack of time” is an excuse often invoked by people not getting enough exercise. But it has just been destroyed by a study conducted by researchers from Canada. In a study, the scientists compared the health effects of higher intensity exercise with those of moderate, long-term training, and found that they are almost equivalent. This means that “no time” is not an excuse anymore.

Intense exercise offers the same benefits in less time

“Most people cite ‘lack of time’ as the main reason for not being active,” study author Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said. “Our study shows that an interval-based [intense] approach can be more efficient — you can get health and fitness benefits comparable to the traditional approach, in less time.”

The study

For the study, the authors approached 27 participants, each of them with low levels of physical activity. They randomly assigned them to two groups to do either moderate intensity training or intense one. After 12 weeks they compared the participants’ readings to find that they were surprisingly similar, both when it comes to heart/lung fitness and insulin sensitivity.

High intensity – save time with the same health benefits

The intense exercise that was done by the study participants only took 10 minutes of their time. It consisted of two minutes of warm-up, three intense sprints of 20 seconds each, with two minutes of easy cycling between them, and three minutes of cooldown.

These findings have dismissed the lack of time as an excuse for not getting any exercise. It is a “very time-efficient workout strategy,” the author said, which is remarkably effective – although some studies have shown that HIIT may have some negative effects on the heart. And it can be applied to virtually any form of exercise, from walking or running to pumping iron or simply walking a few flights of stairs.

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