Ten-second workouts may seem too good to be true, BUT I ASSURE YOU THAT IT IS TRUE --sort of. Recent research has shown that all-out anaerobic exercise for as little as six seconds (think sprinting) can cause your pituitary gland to squirt youth-restoring Hgh (Human growth hormone) into your bloodstream. This is the very same Hgh that aging Hollywood stars are rumored to be paying thousands of dollars for in hopes of extending their time in front of the camera; and the same stuff some professional athletes are accused of injecting and rubbing on their skin to gain a competitive edge.
Having read the above, you may be tempted to suddenly jump up from your desk and sprint down the corridor at full speed. However, this is not recommended, as you just might knock something over, get injured, have a heart attack and die, or worse -- be committed by your boss and fellow employees.
Let's start with the research. Scientists at Loughborough University in the UK had participants in their study perform single, all-out sprints of 6-seconds or 30-seconds duration on cycle ergometers. The 30-second sprints increased Hgh by 530% over the pre-exercise, resting baseline levels; and 450% more than the shorter, 6-second bursts. In the 30-second group, the Hgh levels stayed elevated for 1.5 to 2 hours post exercise.
Phil Campbell, author of the book, Ready Set Go Synergy Fitness, has found that 8 to 12 seconds (or a distance of about 70 yards) of sprint running is equivalent to 30 seconds of all-out effort on a bike. This is because in cycling (used in the cited study) one's body weight is supported and so it takes longer to get to the lactate threshold -- a state that signals the release of Hgh.
The obvious question is: Why would we want to increase Hgh levels? The answer is so that we can reverse the symptoms of somatopause -- a condition too many Boomers suffer from. It's symptoms include increasing weight, declining energy, increasing of bad cholesterol, decreasing of good cholesterol and the wrinkling of skin. According to Campbell, "... increasing Hgh growth hormone can produce an average response of a 14 percent loss in body fat and an 8 percent gain in muscle." Research also shows that increases in Hgh improves skin elasticity, cholesterol levels and bone density.
If you remember, I started this article with a disclaimer worded -- "sort of." You see, all of a sudden taking a flat-out sprint across the parking lot could be dangerous. Besides getting backed over by a humvee, you could pull a muscle, sprain an ankle, or run into an old girlfriend/boyfriend. You need to warm up and cool down to make this a safe workout (after checking with your healthcare professional to see if you are healthy enough for this intensity, of course). This makes the exercise sessions a little longer than 10 seconds.
Campbell has put together what he calls the Sprint 8. It's comprised of 8-sprint intervals and takes about 20 minutes. I highly recommend it. Go to ReadySetGoFitness.com for more information. It should take you about 10 seconds to get there from here And that should work out just about right!