A new less-for-more exercise regime: you have time for this!

March 15, 2010 by  

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Too busy to exercise? Well, Canadian researchers at the McMaster University think this is not a valid excuse anymore.

There are many exercise regimens out there and there are those especially developed for the fast-paced, always on the go professional. Something can that fit in in between meetings, something that you can do while telephoning or watching your CEO’s town hall webcast.

The researchers recommend short but frequent exercises sessions, such as a 1-minute sprint on the bike up to 10 times a day with 1-minute recovery time in between. That’s just 20 minutes a day but has some long-term benefits for a lifetime. This is the so-called short term high-intensity interval training (HIT) which is a time-efficient but effective and safe alternative to traditional fitness regimes.

According to study leader Professor Martin Gibala, head of the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University

We have shown that interval training does not have to be ‘all out’ in order to be effective. Doing 10 one-minute sprints on a standard stationary bike with about one minute of rest in between, three times a week, works as well in improving muscle as many hours of conventional long-term biking less strenuously.”

HIT is simply short bursts of intensive exercise with short breaks in between. The heart rate goes up to 95% of maximal rate but not as fast as in extremely strenuous sports activities. This is just half of what can be achieved when performing an all-out cycling pace.

“That is the trade-off for the relatively lower intensity. There is no free lunch; duration must increase as intensity decreases.”

However, the person still gets the cardiovascular and muscular benefits without spending too much time.

HIT is especially ideal not only for the very busy, but to those patients who need exercise yet may be qualified for “all-out” physical exercise because of health risks. These are the elderly, those were risky heart problems, and those who are overweight.

The researchers continued to optimize the HIT regime and their most recent recommendation eight to 12 one-minute sprints on a standard stationary bicycle at a relatively lower intensity than previously recommended with rest intervals of 75 seconds. This amounts to a total of 20-25 minutes per session, 25 minutes that can easily fit in a very busy person’s day.

Professor Gibala continues:

“What we’ve been able to show is that interval training does not have to be ‘all out’ in order to be effective and time-efficient. While still a very demanding form of training, the exercise might be more achievable by the general public—not just elite athletes—and it certainly doesn’t require the use of specialized laboratory equipment.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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