It seems so, according to a recent study done at McMaster University In Hamilton, Ontario. While there’s a dearth of studies attempting to quantify how much exercise to do to achieve health benefits, this one looked at how little to do to accomplish the same thing. Even though I need exercise for both my mental and physical being, I like the concept of reaping the benefits with the least amount of time planted-I have plenty of other things I could do. This study (cited by Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times, 2/15/12), gathered several groups of volunteers; one group was sedentary but generally healthy; the other composed of middle-age and older patients who have heart disease. The exercise protocol was this: Bicycling for one minute at 90% of their maximum effort, followed by one minute of rest. This was repeated 10 times, for a total time of 20 minutes. After several weeks, both the unfit volunteers and the cardiac patients showed significant improvement in their health and fitness, with the results in the cardiac group especially remarkable-the improvements in blood vessel function and heart were highly significant. One would think that such a high intensity regimen would be dangerous for heart patients, but none have experienced heart problems related to the workouts. The cardiac group also enjoyed the sessions; much more so than the longer, slower sessions they had been doing in rehab. The training also improved insulin sensitivity, important for controlling blood sugar, and prompted the creation of cellular proteins involved in energy production and oxygen. I have been doing these shorter, more intense sessions for a few years now, and my own blood work has never looked better. Hemoglobin is up, blood pressure down, cholesterol great, kidneys and liver working great. Try the shorter, intense sessions, especially if your bored with your exercise OR if you don’t like to exercise at all. Any questions on how to start, email me.
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.