Monday, March 23, 2015

Are 5 Minute Workouts Hype?

What sounds like a late night TV infomercial might actually be true.   Research is showing that short bouts of exercise a few times per day can do a whole host of things.  From reducing blood pressure to blood sugars, research is showing that intensity versus duration plays a role. 

Researchers looked at participants (read the full study published in Diabetologia here) who exercised for thirty minutes continuously per day versus exercise ‘snacks’ or higher intensity exercise for a shorter duration (about ten minutes) before a meal.  Exercise is known to lower blood sugar so any bit is beneficial, but those that had the “exercise snacks” per meal had lower blood sugar throughout the day.  Another key point to consider is the level of fitness of the individual. 

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published research regarding jogging as little as 5 minutes per day may increase one’s lifespan.  There is also research for a one-minute workout which has 3 intense 20 second intervals. 

So…there is a catch to all of this.  The exertion in all of these short workouts is intense.  The goal is to push the participants out of their comfort zone.  The psychological benefits of exercise range from improving brain health for individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease to buffering against stress and depression. 

Gina Volsko, RD, LD, SCAN blog coordinator.  Find her at