June 17, 2005

WHAT IF YOUR 100 YARD DASH TAKES 6 MINUTES? (via Michael Herdegen):

Fitness in 6 Minutes a Week: A Few Intense Sprints as Good as an Hour of Jogging, Study Says (Daniel DeNoon, June 3, 2005, WebMD Medical News)

If you don't exercise because it takes too long, find another excuse.

Just six minutes of intense exercise a week can keep people as fit as three hour-long jogs, Canadian researchers report in the June issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Is there a catch? Of course. Those six minutes come from four 30-second bursts of all-out effort with four-minute rests in between each sprint. This "sprint interval training" adds up to three 20-minute sessions a week, says Martin J. Gibala, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

"Interval-type training is effective for improving health and fitness in a relatively short period of time," Gibala tells WebMD. "Whether you are already active or just getting into it, you can benefit. People can choose whether they want to exercise faster or exercise longer."

If you're thinking of trying this, Gibala says, first check with your doctor. But he adds that with proper medical supervision, all kinds of people -- even those with heart disease -- can benefit from this approach.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 17, 2005 6:43 AM

Doesn't that add up to 14 minutes?

Posted by: Ben Lange at June 17, 2005 11:02 AM

Just wait until overweight folks start keeling over dead in the streets because of this lunatic advice.

Interval sprints SUCK as an exercise program. Why? Because hardly anybody would keep doing it, because it is sheer torture.

Plus, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY that this program is as good for your circulatory system as three hours of decent aerobic exercise (80% of heart rate max) per week. Anybody who has (a) read the book Aerobics by Dr. Ken Cooper, or (b) gotten into any kind of decent shape aerobically, can attest to the difference between the types of exercise and how they affect your body, especially the heart, lungs, and circulatory system.

Interval sprints are anaerobic. Literally, "without oxygen".

Exercise has to be fun, or people will quit doing it. That's why I ride my bike; I love it, and I get 3 hours of aerobic exercise per week. Win/win.

Even when I was a runner, in decent shape, I couldn't stand doing intervals. Too much like real work ...

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at June 17, 2005 3:13 PM