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Work Life Balance: Can a One Minute Workout Improve Health?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, December 18th, 2014

Last spring, the new York Times published a story about the scientifically proven 7-minute workout routine to stay fit. Now scientists have discovered that just one minute of all-out, high-intensity exercise three times a week can markedly improve muscle and heart health in overweight individuals. So when it comes to work life balance, exercise and “not having enough time,” we really don’t have an excuse anymore, do we?

Researchers from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada recruited 14 overweight men and women who were in good health, to test the expedited fitness regimen. The participants all regularly exercised two or fewer times per week, and were far from reaching the recommended 150 minutes of weekly moderate exercise.

Researchers record1 minute workouted participants’ baseline health information and took blood and muscle samples. Then, they put participants on a 6-week training regimen where they individually customized each person’s diet using a mathematical formula to calculate their required calories — roughly 2,600 calories for men and 1,800 calories for women.

Participants returned to the lab three times a week for a supervised training session. Each workout consisted of 3 sets of all-out cycling against resistance for 20 seconds separated by 2 minutes of low intensity cycling. Each session also included a 2-minute warm-up and a 3-minute cool-down. Therefore, the weekly regimen involved a total of 3 minutes of all-out pedaling, and an ultimate time commitment of 30 minutes per week if you include warm-ups and cool-downs.

The results showed that just 1 minute of intense exercise three times a week for 6 weeks was potent enough to induce physiological changes in the bodies of 14 overweight people, based on measurements following their workouts.

Blood pressure and blood glucose readings for both men and women improved. Their bodies’ maximal oxygen uptake increased by 12 percent. Researchers write that their study “provides further evidence of the potential for very brief, intense bursts of exercise to elicit physiological adaptations that are associated with improved health status in a time-efficient manner.” In other words: there is no excuse for not exercising anymore!

To learn how to care for the bodies, minds and spirits of your healthcare givers and to become the workplace that values work life balance, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. To discuss this culture-changing program that engages nurses, contact me today!

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