One-Minute Workout

There's no magic diet pill to help you lose weight, but there's a simple workout strategy that might give you all the benefits of exercise with just 60 seconds of intense daily training.

No, this isn't a hoax. The New York Times has reported on a study conducted by some of the world's leading exercise researchers. The question at hand: Can a shorter, harder workout deliver the same health benefits as a longer, less intense workout?

Stacie Tovar Crossfit

The answer, according to a large-scale study at Ontario, Canada's McMaster University, is yes: In a study of adult males engaging in various degrees of daily activity, the health benefits experience through one minute of intense physical exercise were the same as the benefits seen in persons working out for 45 minutes a day.

The findings are stunning, given the way we've been trained to think about physical fitness. But the explanation is rather simple: Longer periods of sustained exercise happen at a lower intensity than short, challenging workouts. So longer isn't necessarily better: Rather, it's a compromise of benefits and time.

And for people who don't have 45 minutes to devote to daily exercise, the study's findings could be a game-changer. Researchers tested a workout regimen that features three 20-minute intervals of high-intensity training, separated by two-minute rest periods, along with a warm-up and cool-down period. The workout consisted of 60 total seconds of intense training in which participants would bicycle as hard as they could. Then, during the rest periods, they would bicycle at a lower intensity.

After three months of training, the physical benefits of the one-minute workout were essentially the same as the 45-minute workout benefits. Neither proved better than the other, but if time is of the essence, it might be worth giving the one-minute workout a try. According to researchers, you'll see significant changes to your well-being.

Said one of the lead researchers: "If you are someone, like me, who just wants to boost health and fitness and you don't have 45 minutes or an hour to work out, our data show that you can get big benefits from even a single minute of intense exercise."

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