The Scientific Benefits of a One-Minute Workout



If someone said you could work out really, really, really hard for just one minute a day, three times a week, and actually see results, would you do it? Of course you would. I’m assuming that’s how Canadian researchers convinced the subjects of a recent study to commit to a six-week training plan: minimal effort, big pay off. The good news is, their promise seemed to hold up.

Here’s how the study worked: Researchers recruited 14 overweight, yet not unhealthy, men and women over the age of 50, who reported that they generally exercised two or fewer times per week. The researchers put them on a six-week training plan and individualized, yet controlled, diets.

Then they got them sweating. Discover reports:

Participants returned to the lab three times a week for a supervised training session. Each workout consisted of 3 sets of all-out cycling against resistance for 20 seconds separated by 2 minutes of low intensity cycling. Each session also included a 2-minute warm-up and a 3-minute cool-down. Therefore, the weekly regimen involved a total of 3 minutes of all-out pedaling, and an ultimate time commitment of 30 minutes per week if you include warm-ups and cool-downs.

In other words, each workout required just one minute of actual, grit-your-teeth hard work. After six weeks, researchers discovered that the subjects’ health improved on a number of fronts: Their blood pressure was better, and their volume of oxygen intake during all-out exercise (a.k.a. VO2 max) improved by 12 percent, a clear marker of fitness improvement.

Of course, the experts didn’t note any significant weight loss; this was more about tangible, measurable health gains. But it shows that you don’t necessarily have to make a huge time commitment to gain a health pay-off. Even a minute counts for something.

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