The Internet is abuzz with creative interpretations of scientific studies.
Our favorite recent one: the 10- (or even one-) minute daily workout.
For anyone reading the web, that’s a great promise. You’re thinking, “Okay, I loathe the gym. Now I have more time now to do stuff I like. Thanks, Internet.”
Not so fast. Yes, a study done in Canada did show that in sedentary people, 10 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training was more beneficial than 50 minutes on a treadmill.
But take a closer look. First, only 27 people were tested. That’s a small sample size, and outside of their collective health being approximately that of Homer Simpson, we know little about them.
I’m not going to refute that doing a HIIT cardio workout for 10 minutes is better than doing 30-50 minutes of distance running or cycling. That’s because when you’re running for distance, your body adjusts to that speed and stops burning calories. Whereas those HIIT runs burn more by tricking your body into thinking it’s starting and stopping.
Ten minutes might be enough to kickstart your metabolism, but doing this for longer, like 20-40 minutes, will ensure that your body continues burning after you’ve finished. That’s when fat is really burned.
Another problem with these 10-minute workouts is they don’t pad enough recovery time, and mislead the reader into thinking that’s all that’s needed. You still need strength training, which means lifting weights. If you hate weights, just do pull-ups, sit-ups and kettlebell squats.
Ten-minute workouts will also get excruciatingly boring after a while. To head this off, find classes at gyms that combine strength and HIIT. You’ll get pushed to your limits and most still clock in under an hour — the ones Equinox offers, e.g., are 40-45 minutes. Another benefit: you’ll meet new people, which is also proven to be good for your health.
Don’t have time to workout for 45-60 minutes a day? Consider reworking your schedule so you do.