What is the Least Amount of Work You Need to Do To Stay in Shape? Scientists Now Have the Answer!

by admin on February 16, 2012

in Weight Loss

short interval workoutA recent study at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario took a group of volunteers to study what the bare minimum you need to do to keep yourself in shape. The number of minutes may astonish you as it can be done in 20 minute intervals only twice a week to see very good health results for your heart and physique.

The study used sedentary healthy middle-aged men and women as well as middle-aged older patients who actually had heart disease. Some of the things tested were maximum heart rate, and peak power output on a stationary bicycle.

To start out no one exerted their peak performance on the stationary bicycles because they were all out of shape and the older people with heart disease were flat-out not in good health.

The study required the group to exercise in only short intervals and do no other longer form of exercise at all during the week. The exercise routine used is similar to how athletes train in short bursts of activity with short rest periods in between. These bursts of activity followed by short rests allow athletes to improve their speed and endurance but little was known about the benefits of using this type of routine in a short weekly minimum only program to improve ones health.

With the new routine of only two interval exercise sessions a week established within the group the study began. The intervals only last 20 minutes and this only twice a week but the health benefits from this program were downright surprising.

I have heard on several occasions from my health conscious dad that the American Heart Association and many other health organizations recommend a 30 minute workout of continuous moderate intensity exercise 5 times a week for establishing good health.

Kickboxing group class at Tony Cruz XTC Fitness & Sports

This study suggests that only two 20 minute interval exercise sessions could significantly benefit your health. Since most Americans do not exercise at all any bare minimum requirement on exercise that requires less time and energy can only be seen as a motivation factor for getting out there and doing at least this considering the huge health benefits such little work offers.

We are not saying to stop longer forms of working out but if you have serious time constraints to working out these bare minimum workout numbers may motivate you to at least get started with something as simple as two 20 minute sessions two times a week. This is not too much to ask now is it?

So to summarize what you need to do to begin the bare minimum workout routine is to first establish your 90 % maximum heart rate. Simply subtract your age from the number 220 and that is about the number you want to be at. You can get a heart monitor watch at almost any sports and fitness store or even Walmart. To begin you will need to complete 1 minute of strenuous effort at about 90 percent of your maximum heart rate and then follow that with 1 minute of easy recovery. Do this routine 10 times for a total of 20 minutes and you will receive the following benefits if you do this 2 times a week.


  • Significant improvement in the functioning of blood vessels and heart (Even for those with heart disease, the benefits outweigh the risks)
  • Prompts the creation of far more cellular proteins that are involved in the creation of energy production and oxygen.
  • Insulin sensitivity is improved as well as blood sugar regulation.
  • Lowers risk for Type 2 diabetes.
  • For those who have diabetes one workout session improves blood sugar regulation throughout the following day and especially after meals.

I workout at Tony Cruz XTC Fitness & Sports and do their 45 minute kickboxing class during my lunch break. This local Tyler gym offers over 80 group exercise classes a week and if you do not have a lot of time you could workout for 20 minutes and leave class early. Do this two times a week and you will make a significant impact on your health. You can view their class schedule here. If you would like to watch their commercial and learn more about their gym please visit their website: Tony Cruz XTC Fitness & Sports Tyler Texas




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