A new study from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, published in the journal PLOS One, shows how one minute of intense exercise (during a ten-minute workout three times a week) stimulated physiological changes linked to improved health in overweight adults.
After six weeks, 14 overweight male and female participants had improved their endurance levels by about 12per cent, and had better blood pressure levels, as well as improved muscle activity.
The male volunteers also had significantly improved their blood-sugar control, but the female volunteers had not.
For the research, participants were asked to warm-up on stationary bikes for two minutes.
After the warm-up, participants biked as hard as they could for three 20 second intervals followed by two minutes of slow pedaling, before cooling down for three minutes on the bike.
They did this three times a week, coming out to 30 minutes of exercise a week.
The exercise does not need to be cycling, however. Sprinting up stairs in 20-second bursts, for one minute, or even high knees running hard in one place would also work.