A Little does ALOT

Ever wonder just how much exercise you really need to get good results?

Many people don’t know.

A team of researchers from McMaster University wanted to find out.

They looked at two groups; one was healthy middle-aged men and women and the other were older people who were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.

Each was tested on the stationary bike for things like peak power output and maximum heart rate. As a whole, participants in both groups were out of shape.

Researchers wanted to find out if interval training provided the same fitness and health benefits as the more lengthy and traditional moderate endurance training that so many people do.

People in both groups were then put on a program of cycling intervals that included short burst of strenuous exercise at roughly 90 percent of their maximum heart rate followed by one minute of rest. This exercise-then-rest regimen was repeated 10 times over the course of 20 minutes.

The results?

Both groups showed significant improvements in their health and fitness.

Impressed with the results, scientists performed a separate experiment to see if Type 2 diabetes patients could also experience benefits from such training.

The answer is yes.

Just a single session of exercise that used one minute of intense training followed by one minute of rest improved blood sugar regulation especially after meals.

Martin Gibala, professor of kinesiology at McMaster who oversaw the high-intensity studies said, “If you have time for regular 30-minute or longer endurance exercise training, then by all means, keep it up. There’s an impressive body of science showing that such workouts are very effective at improving health and fitness. But if time constraints keep you from lengthier exercise, consult your doctor for clearance, and then consider rapidly pedaling a stationary bicycle or sprinting uphill for one minute, aiming to raise your heart rate to about 90 percent of your maximum. Pedal or jog easily downhill for a minute and repeat nine times, perhaps twice a week. It’s very potent exercise and very quickly, it’s done.”

And if leaving the house or the office is difficult, use those stairs!

Rodrick Covington