Get fit post-Olympics in just 60 seconds, say researchers
(Medical Xpress)—A new paper published this month by researchers at the University of Abertay Dundee suggests that anyone inspired to get fit by the Olympics and Paralympics can do so in just 60 seconds.
Using a sequence of six-second sprints, one of the shortest sprint durations ever used in high-intensity training (HIT), researchers found that fitness levels of participants in the study increased by more than 10 per cent after only two weeks.
HIT involves short bursts of intense exercise and achieves similar results to long-distance endurance training. However, it is much less time consuming and comes with a lower risk of injury, making it ideal for elite athletes like Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis, who strive to remain injury free.
For this study, researchers tested the effectiveness of extremely short high-intensity sprints on "sub-elite" triathletes rather than professional sports people, but say they could just as easily have recruited people who play rugby or football on a regular basis instead, and that they would have seen the same improvements in fitness.
At the beginning of the study, all participants were asked to complete a self-paced 10km cycled time trial as quickly as they could. They were then divided into two groups: the first was to undergo three sessions of HIT a week, for two-weeks, while the second acted as a control group.
For the HIT group, each of the six sessions consisted of cycling all out for six-seconds, resting for one minute, and then repeating the sprint a total of ten times.
This amounted to just 60 seconds of exercise per session, with three sessions being completed each week.
At the end of the fortnight, subjects from both groups were again asked to complete the time trial, and all those who had done the HIT programme finished 10 per cent faster than they had the time before.
Lead author of the study, Dr John Babraj from Abertay University's School of Social and Health Sciences, says that one of the reasons for the dramatic improvement in fitness levels in such a short space of time was down to the effects the six-second sprints have on the body's ability to use a substance called lactate. He explains:
"During the Olympics you'll probably have heard some of the athletes in post race interviews talking about the lactic acid that's built up in their legs, which they say causes them pain and slows them down. Lots of people in sport talk about lactic acid affecting them in this way, but what they're actually referring to is a substance called lactate which appears in the bloodstream during exercise.
"However, far from causing pain, lactate is actually a useful fuel that the body makes during exercise to enable it to perform at a higher level for longer.
"At the end of a race, the blood is often saturated with lactate because the body can't use it up quickly enough, but it is just a coincidence that this occurs at the same time as an athlete starts to seize up and slow down.
"In this study, we looked at the time it took for lactate to build up in the blood and found that it occurred more slowly after doing 60 seconds of short sprints.
"This suggests that the short sprints make it possible for the body to use the lactate more efficiently, and means that people who do this kind of HIT will be able to perform better in their chosen sport.
"But the results of this study aren't just relevant for people already taking part in sport. Anyone who's been inspired by the Olympics to get fit and be more active, but perhaps thinks it'll involve spending hours in the gym pounding the treadmill, could do 60 seconds of exercise three times a week and be much fitter and healthier in only a fortnight."
The study, entitled "Extremely short duration high-intensity training substantially improves endurance performance in triathletes" is published in the October edition of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.
Journal reference: Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism
Provided by University of Abertay Dundee
- Just one minute of exercise a day could prevent diabetes researchers find Dec 09, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Better a sprint than a marathon: Brief intense exercise better than endurance training for CVD Apr 06, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- New data tests the exercise 'talk test' Sep 13, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Short, intense bursts of exercise could be better for our health than longer intervals Sep 06, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Regular sprints boost metabolism Jan 28, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Emergency physicians are key decisionmakers for nearly half of all hospital admissions, highlighting a critical role they can play in reducing health care costs, according to a new report from the RAND Corporation.
Health 20 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
Health May 18, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Research shows that the earlier the age at which youth take their first alcoholic drink, the greater the risk of developing alcohol problems. Thus, age at first drink (AFD) is generally considered a powerful predictor of ...
Health May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
One quarter of British lawmakers believe there is an "unhealthy" drinking culture in the Houses of Parliament, according to a survey published on Friday.
Health May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have found that the race and sex of study personnel can influence a patient's decision on whether or not to participate in clinical research.
Health May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
A novel study reports that white men and women of European descent inherit common foot disorders, such as bunions (hallux valgus) and lesser toe deformities, including hammer or claw toe. Findings from the Framingham Foot ...
57 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Whole-cell pertussis vaccines were more effective at protecting against pertussis than acellular pertussis vaccines during a large recent outbreak, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in Pediatrics.
44 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Optimal treatment of sleep apnea in patients with prediabetes improves blood sugar (glucose) levels and thus can reduce cardiometabolic risk, according to a study to be presented at the ATS 2013 International Conference in ...
30 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Touted for safety, ease and patient convenience, peripherally inserted central catheters have become many clinicians' go-to for IV delivery of antibiotics, nutrition, chemotherapy, and other medications.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed a promising method to distinguish between pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis—two disorders that are difficult to tell apart. A molecular marker obtained from pancreatic ...
50 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
A new measure of the heterogeneity – the variety of genetic mutations – of cells within a tumor appears to predict treatment outcomes of patients with the most common type of head and neck cancer. In the May 20 issue ...
30 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0