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Got A Few Minutes? You’ve Got Time For The Gym
Researchers randomly assigned 26 inactive but otherwise healthy overweight men, aged 35 – 45, to participate in a thrice weekly, 10-week high intensity interval treadmill training program consisting of a 10 minute warmup (70% maximum heart rate), either one or four 4-minute high intensity interval sessions (90% maximum heart rate), and a 5 minute cool down. The short 1 X 4 program took 19 minutes to complete while the standard 4 X 4 program (including 3 minute active recovery periods between the high intensity intervals) took 40 minutes per session. Improvements in fitness, blood pressure, and fasting glucose were similar in both groups, suggesting that the short program – three 19-minute sessions per week – has the potential to provide some of the major health benefits of exercise to this demographic in a very time efficient way. Over the 10 weeks of the study changes in body fat and cholesterol levels were greater in the 4 X 4 group. A program that people can find time for and stick with over the long term has the potential to provide greater benefits over time than one that works fast but gets abandoned.