ONTARIO — Is too much time at home or work keeping you away from your local gym? Good news: a new study finds that all you need is a staircase and 30 minutes a week to give your body a great workout.
The findings were published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, and conducted by researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. The study shows that intense bursts of exercise for short periods of time can be critically beneficial for one’s heart health.
In the study, stair sprints were used as an example of sprint interval training, or SIT. The researchers recognized that such exercises can improve cardiorespitory health. Lead author Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at the university, has dedicated an abundance of research into high-intensity interval training over the years. He wrote a book regarding the topic, titled “The One Minute Workout,” which was published earlier this month.
Gibala and his team conducted their study on 31 individuals. The participants were all women who were fairly inactive, but otherwise healthy. The participants were divided into two separate groups, and each group committed to an exercise routine.
Both groups were also required to participate in 10 minute sessions that included warm-ups, cool-downs, and recovery periods. The groups were devoted to their exercising for a total of a month-and-a-half. They performed their workouts three times a week, totaling nearly 20 sessions.
The first protocol required three sessions of 20-second stair climbing, in an “all-out” type of method. These exercises were compared to participants who practiced the same protocol, but instead using an exercise bike.
During the second part of the observation, participants climbed intensely up and down a flight of stairs for 60 seconds each.
Both protocols required the participants to exercise for 30 minutes each week that they were involved in the study. The research showed that the participants experienced a significant improvement in cardiorespitory fitness. The study noted that this is a key point that is linked to life longevity.
“Stair climbing is a form of exercise anyone can do in their own home, after work or during the lunch hour,” Gibala says in a release. “This research takes interval training out of the lab and makes it accessible to everyone.”
Of course, when making any significant change to your workout routine, it’s always a good bet to consult a doctor first.