One-Minute Exercise Program Builds Fitness

Leading fitness organizations recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, 75 minutes of intense exercise or a combination of both. Martin Gibala, Jenna Gillen and colleagues from McMaster University in Canada showed that 12 weeks of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) increased cardiovascular capacity and metabolic health as well as training 45 minutes, three times per week for 12 weeks. The HIIT group did three sets of 20-second maximal sprints on a stationary bike with two minutes of active rest between sets— a total of one minute of intense exercise per training session. The traditional aerobics group rode a stationary bike for 45 minutes, three times per week. Both training methods increased aerobic capacity by 19 percent, improved blood sugar control and increased muscle mitochondria (energy centers of the cells). While these results are exciting, it is too early to tell if HIIT provides the same health benefits as larger-volume aerobic training. (PLOS ONE, published online April 26, 2016, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0154075 )

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