Can three minute’s workouts a week get you fit?

Are you one of the forty per cent of people who gets less than 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week?

This is the recommended amount of moderate workouts according to the UK’s department of health, although research also says that 75 minutes of vigorous activity will achieve the same health-giving results.

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But despite so much information outlining the benefits of activity, there are still millions of people who do not get enough exercise to keep their hearts, lungs and muscles in a fit shape. One of the most common excuses used is that of a lack of time. Work, family commitments, social engagements, travel – there is a whole range of reasons why we cannot fit the required exercise into our schedules, but those excuses are about to be blown away by some new research.

High Intensive Training (HIT) is the new kid on the workouts block, and it is gaining interest across the medical and scientific world as it seems that we can get the same benefits of 150 minutes of moderate exercise in just three minutes.

Yes that’s right. The science behind the theory says that doing three times one minute, or six bursts of 30 seconds or nine 20-second blasts will substantially reduce the chances of contracting type-2 diabetes and increases an individual’s cardiovascular fitness. The one caveat is the intensity that you must work at. A half-hearted sprint, a lack-lustre cycle or a gentle row will not suffice, only flat-out, lung-bursting, eyeball popping workouts will do the trick.

Three minute workouts - High intensity workout  in 3 minutes!

While there is no conclusive evidence as to why it works, here is some of the scientific theory:

There may be a link between the hormones response to sharp exercise and the regulation of the liver, muscle and fat tissues.

The HIT protects the smaller blood vessels from high glucose levels, which if left unchecked can lead to diabetes.

HIT sends your blood pressure quite high for a short period. Your body quickly learns how to cope with the adrenaline that circulates as a result, so your resting blood pressure drops significantly.

HIT sends your metabolic rate high, and it stays high for a longer time after you finish exercising.

None of these are proven facts, but scientists are certain that evidence will substantiate some or all of these factors. Certainly from studies carried out, the use of HIT workouts as a training tool has led to weight loss, lowered blood pressure and improved cardio vascular health. And there is the added benefit of saving you a lot of time as well.

Here is an easy-to-use HIT workout program:

Day One

Using a stationary cycle, do a gentle two-minute warm up.

Now set the resistance high enough to really put your muscles under pressure.

Now cycle as quickly as you can for 30 seconds.

Drop the resistance and cycle very gently for two minutes Ramp up the resistance again and do another 30 seconds at a high speed.

Drop the resistance and cycle for two minutes.

Another 30-second blast at the highest level possible.

Do a two-minute cool down.

Day Two

Go for a two minute warm up jog.

Sprint up an incline for 20 seconds.

Walk recovery for two minutes.

Sprint up the same incline for another 20 seconds.

Walk recovery for two minutes.

Sprint up the same incline for another 20 seconds.

Walk recovery for two minutes.

Sprint on the flat for 30 seconds.

Walk recovery home.

Happy workouts!

(pictures: chatelaine, getfitmove)

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