No Time to Exercise? Think Again

By Abby Larson

Not having enough time is no longer an excuse to avoid exercising.  Scientists at McMaster University in Canada published a study in The Journal of Physiology on short term high-intensity interval training (HIT), which consists of a series of short bursts of intense exercise with short recovery breaks in between.  They found that HIT works as well in building muscle and improving oxygen delivery to muscles as long term exercise.

The study, headed by Professor Martin Gibala, was performed on college students on a stationary bike with a workload at about 95% maximum heart rate.  Gibala found that doing 10 one-minute sprints on the stationary bike with one minute of rest in between resulted in the same physical benefits as long duration endurance biking.  This means that the muscular benefits of exercise can be achieved with less time and less exercise.  However, long-term exercise is still necessary for weight loss to maximize calories burned, but short-term, high intensity exercise is far more beneficial that no exercise at all.

The reasons behind these results are not yet known, but Gibala found that HIT activates some of the cellular pathways that are associated with producing the health benefits from endurance training.

These findings are not just for athletes trying to get into shape.  The scientists at McMaster think that a less “all-out” HIT method can be beneficial for people who require the benefits of exercise but are not advised to exercise for prolonged periods of time.  The team’s future research will examine the effects of HIT on the elderly, obese, and people with metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

So next time you only have 10-20 minutes to exercise, hop on a stationary bike to try this time-efficient and effective form of exercise.   Remember, though, that exercise plans should be catered towards an individual’s fitness goals.

Published by

Abby Larson

Abby Larson is a senior biology major at Dickinson College with a focus in pre-medical studies. She is a member of the Dickinson Women's Lacrosse team and is highly involved in other activities on campus, including Delta Nu and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Her involvement on the lacrosse team along with her major in biology has led her to be interested in exercise science, and she may pursue her interests after graduation through a medical or graduate degree.

15 thoughts on “No Time to Exercise? Think Again”

  1. This is really interesting. It’s definitely a good piece of information for college students, with little to no time, to know. I hope that HIT is also effective in elderly and obese people.

  2. Early morning exercise in really very helpful for the body and the mind both, because a healthy body and fresh mind helps a person to perform his activities efficiently in any field work.So its very necessary to fix a time to your daily exercises. Balanced diet and exercise will keep one fit much longer period and prevent deterioration of muscle and bone at an early stage and other chronic physical problems many aging women suffer from

  3. It was really hard at first, but I’m really enjoying doing HIT, especially in the morning. Give me boost for the rest of my day.

  4. Abby,

    Using either HIT or HIIT is a great way to burn through visceral fat, and to get in a workout when you’re pressed for time. I’ve found my conditioning improves as well.

    I agree with Gibala on the fact that HIT needs to be conducted in short periods of time. It should not attempted for the same length of time as a session of steady-state cardio would last.

    -Mitchell

    not be the length of time as steady-state cardio. T

  5. Well simply look back a thousand years or even hundreds of years, before the automobile became the lazy way to get around. They walked and ran for miles to make ends meet. exercising made them lose weight as there was no such thing as obesity but today everyone asks the same question over and over again, How To Lose Weight Fast . I know but do you know. 🙂

  6. This is a really good post, i love HIIT and i believe that the best is to mix HIIT with low intensity steady state cardio. For example 10 mins all out intensity so you almost puke, take 5 mins break to allow the fat to come into the bloodstream, do 45 mins of LISS afterwards.

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  8. I have diabetes and I was always told that exercising is not healthy for me, that I am too weak and so on. However, after so many blogs like this one I understood that I just need to learn how to control my glucose level while exercising and learn how to exercise correctly. I got some devices for that but in general, I understood how my diabetes works and this is what helps me to find time and motivation for exercising anytime. And I love it!

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