Look, we know exercise is important. We even enjoy our Pilates and boxing classes. But does it have to be so damn time-consuming? By the time we get out of work and hit the gym, we’re not eating dinner until 10 p.m. at the earliest. (And damn it, we want mac and cheese now.)
But it appears we’re not alone in wishing we could reap the benefits without spending quite so many hours running and squatting. Per monthly fitness service ClassPass's breakdown of 2018 U.S. fitness trends, shorter workouts are trending. "ClassPass users were 33 percent more likely to book a class under 45 mins (44 minutes or less) in 2018 than they were in 2017. We predict this trend of shorter class times will continue to rise in 2019."
Abbreviated workouts sound great in theory, but are they as effective as longer gym sessions? The research is promising. According to a study at McMaster University in Ontario, shorter workouts can be as effective as longer ones. The key? Intensity.
Researchers compared sprint interval training (SIT) with traditional moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT). SIT involved one minute of intense exercise within a ten-minute time commitment, whereas MICT involved 50 minutes of continuous exercise per session.
The results? “Twelve weeks of brief intense interval exercise improved indices of cardiometabolic health to the same extent as traditional endurance training in sedentary men, despite a five-fold lower exercise volume and time commitment.”
Translation: Quick spurts of intense exercise are just as beneficial as longer, endurance training sessions. So basically, if you’re looking to cut back on the time you spend working out without sacrificing any of the results, just make sure you work a little harder for that shortened period of time.