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can a 10 minute workout do as much as a one hour workout?

Adam MacDougall tells Body+Soul, you only need to set aside 10 minutes in your day to exercise – as long as you do it the right way.

None of us have enough time, right? There’s work, running the kids to and from activities, countless household chores and the weekly shopping to do.

Throw in family commitments and catching up with friends, endless errands, and maybe some sleep squeezed in there, and it can seem as if there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

So how the heck are you meant to get health-rich when you’re so time-poor? Here’s how.

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You just need 10 minutes. That’s less than 1 per cent of your day. Since I’ve been out of the world of competitive sport, I’ve dedicated my life to the fitness, health and wellbeing of both men and women.

We all know the stats – obesity is on the rise, heart disease, mental illness and cancers are taking us out in greater numbers. We’re sitting on our backsides a lot more than ever before.

Who hasn’t lost someone before their time and thought it didn’t have to be that way? I know I have.

Getting fit and healthy doesn’t have to mean a life of missing out. I firmly believe in getting rid of the beer belly without getting rid of the beers (well, maybe just a few of them).

You don’t need fancy diets or expensive gyms.

In fact, you can get super fit with very little at all – no matter your budget, location or how many hours you don’t have left in a day that’s already bulging at the seams.

Scientists at McMasters University in Canada set out to challenge that universal “I don’t have time” excuse for not exercising, and found that fitness is more about intensity than time.

In fact, their research revealed that “a single minute of very intense exercise produces health benefits similar to longer endurance training”. The 12-week study compared sprint interval training (SIT) with moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT).

The SIT workout included three 20-second all-out cycle sprints within a 10-minute session, while the MICT group carried out 45 minutes of continuous cycling at a moderate pace.

The results were almost identical, even though the moderate group did five times as much exercise. What the researchers proved was that it isn’t about how much time we have to exercise so much as how efficient we are with that time

So how do you get fitter and feel better in just 10 minutes a day? Read on…

What’s in it for you

1. You’ll burn calories and shed fat

Work off that pizza extra quickly. Studies have shown that you burn through more calories during HIIT than slow-and-steady forms of exercise.

Plus, you’re also more likely to continue burning them long after you’ve finished thanks to “post-exercise oxygen consumption” – the extra exertion jolts your body’s repair cycle into working extra hard.

In fact, a report in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine found that HIIT workouts resulted in 28.5 per cent more fat loss than a moderately intense continuous exercise such as running.

2. You’ll build muscle mass

You might think that since HIIT helps you drop kilos, it might also lead to a loss of muscle mass. On the contrary, it’s ideal for anyone looking to build long, lean muscles.

And you don’t get much downtime between sets, so your muscular endurance also rises. Supercharge your muscle-building ability by pairing HIIT workouts with a high-protein diet.

3. You’ll lower your blood pressure and blood sugar

Studies have shown that eight weeks of HIIT can help regulate blood-sugar levels, making it an ideal option for diabetics.

Plus, HIIT also makes your heart work harder – especially once it reaches the anaerobic zone (where your maximum heart rate is above 80 per cent) – which increases your stamina and lowers your blood pressure over time.

Step-by-step: How to do the 10-minute workout

Do this set 3 times for a total workout of 10 minutes:

  • 30 seconds running on the spot, 20 seconds rest
  • 30 seconds of bodyweight air squats, 20 seconds rest
  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks, 20 seconds rest
  • 30 seconds of push-ups, 20 seconds rest

What you’ll need

  • A yoga mat or towel and space to move, inside or outside. No gym or equipment is required.
  • It’s easier to do something for 10 minutes a day than find a few hours three times a week. You can do this in the ad breaks of your favourite TV show.
  • An open mind. There’s a move to cater (or be adapted) for everything, even injury – even star jumps can be done sitting down.

Adam MacDougall’s podcast Health Hacker, a guide to hacking a better life to feel, look and live better, is available on LiSTNR.

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