According to research published in the April 27, 2016 issue of PLoS One , three 20 secondbursts of intense exercise sandwiched between lighter exertion levels had the same beneficial effect on sedentary men as 45 minutes of moderate exercise – improved heart and lung function, insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation.  

The “sprint interval training” used for the study was a two minute warm up on an exercise bike, followed by three 20 second sprints with two minutes of easy cycling in between each sprint, and a three minute cool down – a total of 10 minutes – three times a week for 12 weeks.

Summary of study is at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/309682.php
Complete journal article is at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075#sec025

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This is an easy, effective and time efficient way to improve your health. If you use an exercise bike, give this approach a try. But, it’s not just for people who cycle. It can be done with any exercise or activity-  swimming, skating, dancing, hiking, and of course walking, jogging or running.

If you already have a walking routine, try adding short bursts of jogging in between brisk walking. If you walk at a more leisurely pace, then add intervals of brisk walking. Start slowly and if you have a heart condition, check with your health care professional before making any changes to your exercise regime.  If you want more formal interval training, work with a personal trainer.

Using the protocol from the research study above, a 10 minute brisk walk would look like this:

 For more information:

Mayo Clinic – Interval Training
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/interval-training/art-20044588

References: Gillen JB, Martin BJ, MacInnis MJ, Skelly LE, Tarnopolsky MA, Gibala MJ (2016) Twelve Weeks of Sprint Interval Training Improves Indices of Cardiometabolic Health Similar to Traditional Endurance Training despite a Five-Fold Lower Exercise Volume and Time Commitment. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0154075. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154075