Short bursts of high-intensity interval training can make you healthier and fitter in just 60 seconds, says new science

By Rachael Schultz
December 11, 2014
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Some days all you can do is get to the gym. And while we applaud you for showing up, we have a shorter (and more effective!) option than slogging on the treadmill for 30 minutes. One minute of intense exercise within an otherwise easy 10-minute routine can improve your endurance and overall health, reports a new study in the journal PLOS One. (Trying to zap fat fast? See EPOC: The Secret to Faster Fat Loss.)

In the study, people biked for 20-seconds all out, followed by two minutes of slow, easy pedaling. They repeated that three times. For the week, people only worked out for 30 minutes-with just three minutes of seriously hard work (not bad, right?!). The results: After six weeks, participants had increased their endurance capacity by 12 percent (a significant improvement) and improved their blood pressure. Participants also had higher levels of biochemical substances in their muscles that increase mitochondria, cells that help turn carbohydrates into energy to fuel your heart, power your brain, and extract nutrients from food.

The benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) aren't new-we know! Studies have shown HIIT workouts improve cardiovascular health, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, not to mention help zap belly fat, and shed pounds (for even more on why HIIT rocks, don't miss the 8 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training). But on those days when your brain is just begging you to quit, kick it up for one minute, and you can collapse happy after 10 minutes instead of slowly dragging yourself to the end.

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