Exerciser haters, rejoice. According to a new study, you could burn up to 200 calories from just 2.5 minutes of exercise. Yes, those same 200 calories that can take 20 minutes (or longer) to burn normally can be gone in less than three minutes. Is this too good to be true?
Researchers from Colorado State University and the University of Colorado don’t think so.
They studied a group of five healthy men between the ages of 25 and 31. For three days, they were fed a controlled diet and then the next two days they spent most of their time being sedentary–with one exception: At the beginning of one of those days, the men took part in a short exercise routine.
Known as sprint interval training, the participants performed five 30-second bouts of “all-out” sprints on indoor bikes, with four minutes of easy cycling in between.
What researchers discovered was interesting (and exciting for those who despise working out). The study participants burned 200 more calories on the day of their short 2.5 minute sprints than on the days they didn’t do the sprints. Meaning, interval training can work at burning more calories and more fat while getting your heart rate higher in a shorter amount of time. That’s nothing new. What is new is the amount of calories burned in such a short amount of time. A runner typically has run two miles to burn 200 calories (which can be anywhere from 14 to 24 minutes, depending on their speed). To be able to achieve the same calorie-burning benefit in a fraction of the time has to be appealing to some.
But…there’s always a but. Keep in mind that this study only included five participants. Five. That’s hardly enough to be conclusive about anything–particularly when researchers are claiming that 2.5 minutes of exercise can do anything. Suffice to say, more research with a larger study field is needed.
Also, the routine they tested was not really 2.5 minutes. The men cycled four minutes in between sets, for a total workout of 22.5 minutes, which is enough each day to reach the CDC’s 150-minute a week exercise recommendation.
So as appealing as just 2.5 minutes a day of exercise may sound, don’t quit your gym membership just yet. This study does give us more proof that interval training is a good thing to work into your normal routine if you want to work harder and reap some extra calorie-burning rewards. Just don’t walk out of spin class after the first song and think you’re done.