Science Says Just 1 Minute of Intense Exercise Can Improve Your Health

Talk about doing the bare minimum.

In amazing news for lazies: Doing just one minute (!) of intense exercise three times a week can significantly benefit your health, according to a study recently published in the journal PLOS ONE. (How much do you love science right now?!)

In the six-week study, 14 overweight but otherwise healthy adults went from moving very little to working out three times a week on a stationary bike. In each session, they did three 20-second sprints followed by two minutes of easy pedaling, plus a two-minute warm-up and three-minute cool-down for a total of 10 minutes in the saddle (but just one minute of seriously hard work).

At the end of the study, researchers actually saw some significant changes in the participants: On average, they had 12 percent greater cardiovascular endurance, healthier blood pressures, and higher levels of certain substances in muscles that increase activity of mitochondria, a marker of fitness. In addition, the men had improved blood-sugar control, but more research is needed to figure out why women didn't benefit as much in this department.

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Of course, these findings are still awesome news for anyone who is short on time and can physically sprint for 20 seconds at a time (i.e., almost everyone). Researchers say you don't even need a stationary bike to benefit—that any kind of cardio will do. And while doing the bare minimum won't necessarily help you lose loads of weight or make you look like a Victoria's Secret model, the bottom line is that three minutes of hard-core sprint interval training per week can improve your physical fitness when you can't afford to spend hours at the gym.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors. 

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