Monday, June 3, 2013

Fit in Only 12 Minutes a Week

Brett Klika and Chris Jordan had shown that twelve 30-second exercises could be just as effective as other, longer workouts, see our report “The Scientific 7 minute workout"

But you are still not motivated to get up from the couch.

Now, you can get fit with only 4 minutes of exercise three times per week!

Extra Short Rounds of High-Intensity Exercise Improves Physical Fitness in Inactive Men

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's KG Jebsen Centre for Exercise in Medicine/Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) have shown that a single bout of short high-intensity sessions (AIT) performed three times per week improves VO2max and can make for substantial differences in the fitness of inactive men.

The researchers measured changes in VO2max and traditional cardiovascular risk factors in 24 inactive but otherwise healthy overweight men after they completed a 10-week training session that involved three weekly high-intensity interval sessions.

Participants were randomly assigned to either 

  1. a single 4 minutes bout of exercise (1-AIT, n = 13) or
  2. 4×4 minutes bouts of exercise interspersed with 3 min recovery (4-AIT, n = 13)*
three times per week for 10 weeks

After training, VO2max increased by 10% in Group A while Group B increased its VO2max by 13%.

Both groups saw decreases in their blood pressure, but the 1-AIT the group's blood pressures showed greater decreases than their 4-AIT counterparts for both systolic and diastolic readings.

"Our data suggest that a single bout of AIT performed three times per week may be a time-efficient strategy to improve VO2max", says Arnt Erik Tjønna, a postdoctoral fellow at the center and lead author of the study. 

Tjønna says one of the advantages of this approach is that it is easy for people to incorporate into their daily lives.

Tjønna says while the results look promising, the number of study participants was small, which limits the scientists' ability to extrapolate their findings. He also noted that people who are active probably won't benefit as much as the inactive participants did from the 1-AIT training regime.


The above story is based on the May 29, 2013 news release by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The research has been published in PLoS ONE: an inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE:

Tjønna A, Leinan I, Bartnes A, et al. Low- and High-Volume of Intensive Endurance Training Significantly Improves Maximal Oxygen Uptake after 10-Weeks of Training in Healthy Men. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (5): e65382 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065382

* 4 x 4 Interval Training

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