Exercise is considered essential for good health, but many people say they just don’t have enough time during a busy workday to go for a hike, bike or visit the gym. At the end of the week, they may have done little if any vigorous activity. Can you get your exercise without devoting hours to it?
Packing Exercise into 10 Minutes a Day:
Canadian researchers have come up with an alternative that can be done almost anywhere and does not require much time. Stair climbing can provide substantial cardiovascular benefits at home, at work or doing errands.
What the Study Showed:
In the study, 31 healthy women not accustomed to exercise tested two different ten-minute protocols. Those ten minutes included warm up and cool down time as well as exercise and catch-your-breath time. The sessions were held three times a week for six weeks.
In one experiment, the women climbed stairs as fast as they could for 20 seconds. This was repeated twice. In the second experiment, they climbed a flight of stairs quickly for 60 seconds.
As the researchers point out, either exercise approach would be easy to replicate at home. Both protocols improved cardiorespiratory fitness significantly in six weeks, with 30 minutes a week devoted to the exercise. Pick one of these, and it might be a great, time-saving way to get your exercise.
High-Intensity Interval Training:
This research offers a variation on high-intensity interval training. This approach, known as HIIT, has been popularized by one of the scientists conducting the study, Dr. Martin Gibala, as The One Minute Workout. You can read more about his approach in this report by Gretchen Reynolds for The New York Times. As she says, you no longer have an excuse not to get your exercise every day. The original studies Dr. Gibala and his colleagues conducted used stationary bicycles, but stairs are easier to find. All of us who have stairs near their home or office can now practice what the women in the study did.