There has been a lot of chatter in the fitness industry lately about the benefits of high intensity, short duration fitness sessions. Recently an article published by Gretchen Reynolds got a lot of attention. Her article (which was so well titled!) summarizes a research project that compared the health benefits of high intensity exercise to the health benefits of moderate intensity exercise.
The study was conducted out of McMaster University and included 19 men, 9 who participated in sprint interval training (10 minutes total work, 1 minute of all-out effort) and 10 who participated in a 45 minute stationary bike ride at moderate intensity. The results, if you’re a slight scientific exercise nerd like myself, were interesting and exciting. The conclusion of this study: both sprint interval training (a 10-minute workout) and moderate intensity training (a 45-minute workout) had the same health benefits, no matter the duration, after three months of training.
Although this is a fairly small sample and a lot (and I mean a lot) of research still needs to be done in the area of high intensity interval training for health benefits, this is a start. And, in a day and age where it seems almost every minute of our days is accounted for, high intensity, short duration workouts could obliterate (okay, that’s reaching but a gal’s gotta try) the excuse “there’s just no time to workout”.
Recently, Hot Mama Health & Fitness started challenging our clients with what we call a “5-Minute Flicker”. We asked Mamas to commit to 10 days of completing the 5-Minute Flicker first thing in the morning, before they did anything else. 5 minutes of high intensity activity before coffee hit their lips. The results (anecdotally, of course): more energy, an increased tendency to think about physical activity hroughout their day and happier, less stressed moods.
How fabulous is that? And yes, I realize this is not a scientific study (I’ve worked in that area, I know what that looks like). However, we did have over 80 Mamas completing their 5-Minute Flicker at one time. I’d trust their feedback any day.
“After 10 days of the 5-minute flicker, I was hooked. I appreciated the increased energy and boost to my metabolism. OHM’s 5-minute flicker inspired me to start my mornings with exercise. I feel alive and have more energy! Love the 5-minute flicker! It has helped me keep up with my 2 amazing children ages 7 & 2”. – Shannon Laboucane
“I didn’t think I had time in my already busy and early mornings but I found a way to make it work and I felt refreshed, alert and happy every morning when I had flickered”. – Sarah Su
“I liked getting my kids involved in our morning Flicker. My son would wake me up saying, “Get up Mom, it’s time to Flicker, and then will you make me breakfast!”. – Lisa Baylis
I received so many messages about the impact the 5-Minute Flicker was having on Mamas’ lives, we created a second 5-Minute Flicker. And, in another week or so, we’ll release our third! Most people can commit to 5-minutes. And, if those five minutes are fun, a little silly so kids can join in? Win!! Oh yeah, then there’s the whole added energy, more focus, overall increase in physical activity and yes, even, better self esteem thing I’ve repeatedly heard about from those who completed the challenge.
So, while our study is not scientific and wasn’t really a study at all…the results are in! Starting your day with 5-minutes of high intensity exercise may just be the boost you’re looking for. Start your day with physical activity and see how you feel. It’s 5-minutes…you can do it!
I challenge you. Oh yeah…gloves thrown down, mic drop and all that jazz.
Give me 5-minutes for 10 days and tell me how you feel. Get your coffee percolating, turn on the music, get your kids involved and get your 5 minutes in to start your day. Have fun with it, be silly and move your body…I bet you’ll feel better for it. You in?!