Health·Video

Intense 60-second workout shows health benefits

Cycling intensely in three 20-second bursts of riding as part of a 10-minute program may have felt like pedalling through cement to CBC’s Christine Birak, but researchers say it offers similar cardio and blood sugar benefits as a gentler workout spread over 45 minutes.

Short, high-intensity workout offers benefits similar to 45 minutes of moderate exercise

Intense exercise

CBC News

5 years agoVideo
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High-intensity interval training, with a warm up and cool down, can shrink your workout time 0:51

Cycling intensely in three 20-second bursts of riding as part of a 10-minute program may have felt like pedalling through cement to CBC's Christine Birak, but researchers say it offers similar cardio and blood sugar benefits as a gentler workout spread over 45 minutes.

Martin Gibala, McMaster University kinesiology professor in Hamilton, believes the bursts of intense activity, combined with a warm-up and cool-down period, can deliver health benefits.

The top reason people give for not exercising is lack of time.

"I think the most common question is can I really get away with a minute? And the answer, of course, is no," Gibala said. "Can you get away with short bursts of exercise and be very effective? Absolutely."

Obesity expert Dr. Mark Tremblay from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa doesn't question Gibala's laboratory science, but he worries the high-intensity workouts will feel like a chore in the real world to people with different ages and health status.

"It's key to find something you like so it's not something that you have to try to fit in. It's something you look forward to doing. So maybe that is going for a jog while your kids ride beside you, maybe it's going to the park."

With files from CBC's Christine Birak

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