Workout Trends: The 7-Minute Workout

Have you heard of the 7-minute workout? One of the hottest topics in the fitness industry right now is not how much exercise we should be completing, but how little. And that, in turn, has resulted in the rise of very brief, “high-intensity circuit training” (HICT). The 7-minute workout is part of that trend.

Circuit Training Basics

HICT refers to alternating periods of short, intense exercise with brief rest periods in-between. Shorter rest periods results in shorter total exercise time. That can be very appealing to those of us who do not have the time to stick to the standard guidelines, which recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. (Check with your medical professional before starting any new fitness program.)

Definition: 7-Minute Workout

The 7-minute workout combines aerobic and resistance training into a single exercise bout lasting approximately seven minutes. The workout typically consists of an intensive combination of 12 exercises that elevate the heart rate and work all the major muscle groups. Each exercise is performed for 30 seconds followed by 15 seconds of rest. The circuit can be repeated two to three times as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine. As body weight provides the only form of resistance, the program can be done anywhere.

The most recent research suggests that a few minutes per week of strenuous exercise can improve aerobic fitness, generally more quickly than moderate activity does. These studies are showing that short high-intense exercises can improve certain markers of health, with participants developing improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Work by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and other institutions show, for instance, that even a few minutes of training at an intensity approaching your maximum capacity produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding.

HICT, along with its close cousin, “high intensity interval training” (HIIT), are very physically demanding, and is not for everyone. If you have any cardiovascular problems or other health concerns that limit your ability to exercise at very intense levels, or if you are relatively new to aerobic exercise or not already in good shape, HIIT may not be suitable for you. Check with your medical professional before trying HIIT or any new fitness program.

About the Author
Georgelena Saborio
is an exercise physiologist and supervisor for the Employee Fitness Department at Baptist Health South Florida, a position she has held for 10 years. Ms. Saborio received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine. At Baptist Health, she provides and oversees all fitness events and the Employee Fitness centers. She has served as a member of the Chamber South Wellness Committee for four years, assisting and providing fitness programs and education to its members and the community.

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