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