Keep this dead last and you may end up dead

When it comes to getting in shape, do you ever feel like time just isn’t on your side? Seriously… when are you supposed to fit that in when you’re working, managing a household or a family, possibly taking care of a pet or two, and — if you’re lucky — squeezing in some socializing here and there? And don’t forget sleep. If exercise is anywhere on your to-do list, it’s dead last.

But if you keep it last… you may up end up dead, sooner than later.

There’s no denying the disease-fighting benefits of exercise against killers like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Plus, it’s age-defying — exercise helps keep you looking and feeling younger as you age. Without exercise you can say ‘goodbye’ to your mobility and your independence.

Do you really want to give all of that up because you can’t spare 10 minutes?

Because according to the latest research, there is a way to exercise for only a few minutes per day and still experience the same protective benefits you would experience from a much longer workout.

Researchers from McMaster University developed a sprint interval training (SIT) exercise routine that includes a two-minute warm up, three 20-second “all-out” cycle sprints and a three-minute cool down. The routine also includes two minutes of easy cycling between each of the harder cycle sprints.

All in all, the routine involves a total of 10 minutes of exercise (including the warm-up and cool-down)… and here’s the amazing thing: It’s been shown to be as effective as cycling for 50 minutes at a more moderate pace.

Researchers recruited 27 men who’d been spending way too much time on the couch, and asked them to work out three times per week for 12 weeks. Half of the men did the SIT exercise routine developed by researchers and the other half did the moderate 50 minute exercise routine.

Both groups of men experienced the same benefits in cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity regardless of whether they exercised for 10 minutes or 50 minutes.

“Most people cite ‘lack of time’ as the main reason for not being active,” said Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University and lead author of the study. “Our study shows that an interval-based approach can be more efficient — you can get health and fitness benefits comparable to the traditional approach, in less time.”

So the choice is yours: 10 minutes of intense exercise or 50 minutes of moderate exercise. Whichever you choose, you’ll be putting yourself first and pushing deadly disease risk lower and lower.

Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and