We all want to reap the benefits of cardiovascular exercise. No matter what modality you prefer, elevating your heart rate is important. It can reduce belly fat, promote brain growth, prevent stress, promote focus, interrupt anxiety, and regulate depression. Often times, we think of cardiovascular training as super-long runs that take up half the day and leave us completely wasted afterwards. While there’s a point and purpose to that kind of steady-state training, it’s not the only way to get a good workout in.
No one wants to spend their entire day in the gym to get results. Unless you make your living in the gym or on the field of play, it’s not practical or necessary. A current trend is developing that involves short workouts, and science is catching up to these time-crunched training sessions, proving that less can be more.
Short workouts, like HIIT or Tabata, can give the same amount of physiological benefit as workouts twice or three times as long. A 2006 study by Martin Gibala, a physiologist at McMaster University in Ontario, showed that a 3-minute sequence on a stationary bicycle — 30 seconds of maximal effort pedaling, followed by a brief rest, repeated five or six times — led to the same health benefits as 90 to 120 minutes of steady-state cycling.