According to research performed by the Institute for Health & Sport at Victoria University in Melbourne, a two-minute vigorous workout could be as beneficial to the body as a typical 30-minute workout involving moderate intensity aerobics. The caveat is that people have to overexert themselves during high-intensity workouts for it to have the same effect, according to lead author Adam Trewin.
“This type of sprint exercise might be best used as ‘icing on the cake’ in addition to other regular forms of exercise, since the difficulty of the sprint exercise used in this study should not be underestimated,” Trewin told TODAY.
“For many people, this might not be enjoyable and/or tolerable to perform regularly.”
The study, recently published in the American Journal of Physiology — Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, involved eight young healthy, active people. They did three types of workouts on a stationary bike:
- 30 minutes of continuous cycling at a moderate pace.
- Five cycling intervals, lasting four minutes each, performed at 75 percent peak effort. Each was followed by one minute of recovery time.
- Four 30-second “all out” intervals performed as hard and fast as the participants could pedal, separated by 4.5 minutes of recovery time.
The researchers then looked at the mitochondrial responses in the participants’ thigh muscles after each type of workout. Mitochondria are often described as the powerhouse of the body’s cells, so they’re particularly important for maintaining energy levels in muscle when people exercise, Trewin said.
Click here to learn more about this study.