Sorry folks, but "I don't have enough time to exercise," is an excuse that's officially off the table. In a highly publicized study, researchers found that just one minute of highly intense, interval-based exercise is as effective at improving cardiometabolic health as a 45-minute steady-state cardio workout.
Yes, just one minute.
But there is a caveat. Before you decide to sit on the couch for 23 hours and 59 minutes a day, you must understand that this "one minute" workout was actually three 20-second all-out intervals that took place over the course of a 10-minute routine.
So go ahead and sit on the couch for 23 hours and 50 minutes a day (I jest, don't actually do that), and carve out a 10-minute block of time for exercise to give it your all. This isn't the type of pussy-footed workout protocol where you can casually wander through a series of moves. To actually benefit from a "one-minute workout," you need to work hard.
The rules of engagement
To mimic the workout set up by researchers in the study, it's important to remember this was a cardiovascular routine. Study participants performed all training sessions on a specialized indoor bicycle, but there's no need for you to saddle up your own set of wheels when trying it in the field. Instead, pick your poison and frame your workout around your favorite form of cardio: running, cycling, rowing, jumping rope, or stair climbing are all great options, but you can choose pretty much anything you can sustain for several minutes at a time.
Once you've made your selection, the workout will go like this:
- 0:00-2:59, Warm-up: Start your preferred form of cardio, gradually increasing your intensity to a moderate level
- 3:00-3:19, Sprint: Perform your first all-out exercise, choosing from the list provided below
- 3:20-5:19, Active recovery: Continue your preferred form of cardio at a low intensity
- 5:20-5:39, Sprint: Perform your second all-out exercise, choosing from the list provided below
- 5:40-7:39, Active recovery: Continue your preferred form of cardio at a low intensity
- 7:40-7:59, Sprint: Perform your third all-out exercise, choosing from the list provided below
- 8:00-10:00, Cool-down: Continue your preferred form of cardio, gradually reducing your intensity
Nine perfect interval exercises
The key to the perfect routine comes down to those 20-second, all-out sprint intervals. Think about Olympians who run 200-meter races -- those races last just about 20 seconds, and you better believe the athletes are giving it all they've got. That's basically what these sprint intervals should feel like when you're turning it on; by the end of the 20 seconds, you've got nothing left to give. Choose any of the following equipment-free exercises to fulfill your one-minute workout.