Ten-minute workouts for fitness

Dr. Gabe Mirkin
Dr. Gabe Mirkin

One minute of intense exercise can give you the same level of fitness as 45 minutes of more casual exercise (PLoS One, April 26, 2016;11(4):e0154075). Two groups of out-of-shape men exercised three times a week for 12 weeks. One group pedaled stationary bicycles for 45 minutes. The other group did the following 10-minute workout:
• warm up for two minutes on a stationary bicycle
• pedal as hard as possible for 20 seconds followed by very slow pedaling for two minutes (recovery)
• repeat the 20-second all-out pedaling followed by two minutes of slow recovery
• pedal all-out for the last 20-second sprint and then cool down for three minutes.

Both groups made the same improvements in fitness as measured by:
• Maximal amount of oxygen uptake (Vo2max) – 20 percent increase in both groups
• Insulin sensitivity index (to prevent diabetes) – more than 50 percent increase in both groups
• Skeletal muscle mitochondrial content also increased by the same amount, even though the intense exercise group worked out for only 10 minutes per session while the casual-exercise group’s workout took 45 minutes, or 4.5 times as long.

Benefits of Exercise
• Your fitness level determines, in part, your susceptibility for suffering heart attacks (Prog Cardiovasc Dis, 2014;56:382–90), diabetes, certain cancers and premature death (Ex and Spts Sci Reviews, 2017;45(1):7-15).
• Regular exercise helps to prevent many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes (Can Med Assoc J, 2006;174: 801–809).
• High levels of fitness predict a long lifespan (Arch Int Med, 2012;172:1333-1340), and low levels of fitness predict a shortened lifespan (Circulation, 2008;117:614-622).
• Not exercising is the most common modifiable cause of chronic disease (Can Med Assoc J, 2006;174: 801–809).
• The most common excuse for not exercising is lack of time (Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2002;34: 1996–2001). This new study shows that ONE minute of intense exercise, in a regular program of ten-minute workouts, is enough to gain significant fitness benefits.

My Recommendations
• Everyone should try to exercise every day because a high level of fitness helps to prevent disease and to prolong life.
• Intense exercise takes far less time than more casual exercise for the same health benefits.
Caution:Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or making a sudden change in the intensity of your existing exercise program.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin is a Villager. Learn more at www.drmirkin.com

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