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Save Time with High-Intensity Interval Workouts

A study reported on by the New York Times discovered that even 10 seconds of high-intensity exercise may help you get in shape. The training program, called 10-20-30, entailed repeating intervals of gentle exercise (for 30 seconds), moderate exercise (for 20 seconds), and high-intensity exercise (for 10 seconds). The program was part of a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports that included 160 middle-aged, recreational runners. Researchers directed 132 of the runners to replace two of their three weekly workouts with 10-20-30 training and 28 of the runners to continue their existing routine. All of the runners ran a 5K race at the beginning and end of the study to measure their progress. After eight weeks, researchers found that:

  • While the group that continued their existing routine did not see any changes at the end of the study, the 10-20-30 training group had shaved an average of 38 seconds from their 5K running times. Most of the runners in the 10-20-30 group also had lower blood pressure and other markers of improved health in the end.

This workout could be a great option for those who are crunched for time, or for those who find 10 seconds of high-intensity activity easier to stomach than several minutes. If you’d like to give 10-20-30 a go, follow these basic steps:

  • Choose an activity you can do at different speeds, like running, biking, or rowing. After warming up with some light exercise, ease into a gentle pace for the first 30 seconds—this should feel relaxed. Then, speed up to a moderate pace for 20 seconds, and end with 10 seconds at a high-intensity pace (run/bike/row like your life depends on it!).
  • If you’re trying to get in shape, do five 10-20-30 intervals in a row and then take a break by walking slowly for two minutes. Repeat the five intervals one more time and then cool down with some light exercise. The whole routine lasts about 12 minutes.
  • If you’re already in good shape, add one more set of five intervals to your routine.
  • Take the next day off or exercise lightly. Don’t do two days of 10-20-30 intervals back-to-back.
  • Try replacing two of your regular weekly workouts with 10-20-30 training.

Source: New York Times

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