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Generally once or even a few times a year we will get really motivated to start working out and get fit. This spike in motivation may come from watching the Olympics, New Year’s resolutions, or maybe even just a fancy new set of workout clothes and we will run right out and get a gym membership, absolutely determined to exercise for an hour a day. However, as time goes by our motivation tapers off, we make excuses, and we resume our sedentary lifestyle.

“But I just don’t have time to work out!”

Is that your standard excuse for not being as active as you know you should? Well that argument may no longer be valid. Recent studies have shown that fractionalized exercise, or exercise split into short segments throughout the day may be just as effective as exercising for one solid chunk of time.

walkGlenn Gaesser, a professor and director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University, conducted a study on exercise and high blood pressure. He had two groups of people walk daily; one group walked for 30 min each day, while the second group walked for 10 min three times each day. The results showed that “exercise was helpful in controlling blood pressure, but breaking up the workout into three short sessions was significantly more effective than the single half-hour session.”

A 12-week study preformed at the University of New Hampshire discovered that “the group of subjects who walked a treadmill two times per day for 15 minutes achieved comparable, and in some cases greater, health and fitness benefits than subjects who performed the same exercise once a day for 30 minutes.”

Other studies on the effectiveness of high intensity interval training (or H.I.I.T) showed comparable findings.

5645A study, done by the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan by putting rats through a series of swim tests discovered similar results. One group of rats was made to swim for six hours in two three hours bouts, while the other group was weighted and only made to swim for about 4 and a half minutes in 20 second bouts. When they tested the rat’s muscle fibers they found that both groups showed the same molecular changes.

Another study, conducted by Martin Gibala, PhD, chairman of the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada using college students as test subjects mirrored the finding of the Japanese study. In this study the students all exercised three time a week for two weeks, but one group of students rode a stationary bike for 90-120 minutes at a sustainable pace, while the other group rode in a series of 20-30 second intervals at the highest intensity that they could stand (with rest periods between intervals) equaling a total of about 2-3 minutes of very intense exercise. When the mitochondria which “enable muscle cells to use oxygen to create energy” (formerly associated with endurance training only) was tested in the muscles of the students, the levels had increased significantly in both groups. Gibala pointed out that when doing a H.I.I.T workout it must be an “all-out effort” that will be “well out of your comfort zone” to be very effective.

HIIT-Workout

Studies of a similar nature have also shown that this fractionalized exercise, in addition to improving overall health and fitness, significantly helps with weight loss, especially in women.

Of course walking for 10 min a day or doing a quick set or reps at your desk with the WellShell isn’t going to turn you into an Olympic athlete, but it can make you a healthier person and it is much more likely to be maintained over a long period of time as it can be slipped into almost any busy schedule.

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References

REYNOLDS, GRETCHEN. “Can You Get Fit in Six Minutes a Week?” NYTimes Blog Well. The New York Times, 24 June 2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.
<http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/can-you-get-fit-in-six-minutes-a-week/>

Reynolds, GRETCHEN. “The 10-Minute Workout, Times Three.” NYTimes Blog Well. The New York Times, 25 July 2012. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.
<http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/the-10-minute-workout-times- three/?ref=health&_r=1>

SIEGFRIED, JULIETTE. “Don’t Have Time to Exercise for 30 Minutes at Once? No Problem!” Health Guidance for Better Health. Health Guidance, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/16385/1/Dont-Have-Time-to-Exercise-for-30-Minutes- at-Once-No-Problem.html>