Outsmart a tough workout

Caitlin Chang

60-second intervals are key to making a tough workout seem easier. Photo: Getty

Often exercise is a case of mind over matter and even overweight and inactive adults can trick themselves into a harder work out.

The secret is to complete short intervals instead of long, intense stretches, according to new research published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Science.

While there have been an increasing number of studies highlighting the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), this research claims to have found the magic number.

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For the study researchers recruited unfit and overweight participants and observed them as they did two types of exercise: intense, continuous exercise and three different intervals of exercise where they rested for 30 seconds on and off, 60 seconds on and off and 120 seconds on and off.

Participants reported thinking the shorter intervals were easier, despite being of the same intensity, leading researchers to conclude that intervals with perceived less effort would be more effective in achieving fitness goals.

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Aside from being perceived as an ‘easier’ form of exercise, there are a number of health benefits to HIIT, with researchers finding it can burn more fat, improve blood pressure and increase overall fitness levels.

Research from The Journal of Physiology found that instead of doing long stints at the gym, the same results could be achieved in less than a third of the time with HIIT. Minimum effort of maximum results? Sign us up.


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