Yeah, right!

I find this article absolutely fascinating. Is it REALLY possible to exercise effectively (to the point where differences in fitness are measurable) in three minutes a week? Well, as you will read, it depends on more than one factor. But the concept of achieving maximum health benefits through short bursts of exercise isn’t new. I’m thinking, here, of Tabata – although beware that Tabata (named after its ‘inventor’, Izumi Tabata PhD, a former researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports) does take four minutes per session, and you will need to do it three times a week. And then we have Little Method, which suggests eight cycles of 60-second bursts of activity followed by 75 seconds of rest – again, three to five times a week. OK, so if we accept evidence that says these short periods of exercise really can have an effect, are they wholly satisfying?

  1. Some of us enjoy taking exercise because it provides us with social opportunities – for example, meeting at a gym or participating in a sport.
  2. Some of us enjoy a more subtle-body form of exercise with meditative qualities – such as yoga or qi gong.
  3. Some of us enjoy solitary but low-impact and low-intensity exercise – such as going for a long brisk walk or perhaps a swim.

I would suggest that (assuming you are fit, able and have checked out any issues related to exercise with your doctor) a mix of types that you enjoy will bring the greatest benefits in terms of overall wellbeing. Yes, the three-minute workout may be proven long term to have real health benefits. Thankfully, given the time it takes each week, I won’t have to sacrifice other types of exercise in order to make way for it.

Photograph: ‘Sunset Bike’ © pepo

Text: © wellbeing practitioner, 2012