health in 10-minute "sparks"
Uva Researcher Discovers
A No-Excuses Method Of Exercising That Could Change Your Life
6, 2001 -- What if a body -- anybody -- only had
to exercise regularly for 10 minutes at a time to achieve and sustain
cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility, weight and vitality?
That's what University of Virginia exercise physiologist Glenn Gaesser
proposes in his new book, "The Spark: The Revolutionary 3-Week
Fitness Plan That Changes Everything You Know About Exercise, Weight
Control, and Health," co-written with Karla Dougherty and published
by Simon & Schuster.
vigorous bursts of exercise for a duration of 10 minutes, done 15
times a week, bring the same total health and fitness benefits as
a solid hour in the gym three days a week -- with measurable results
in just three weeks, he says. "That is a concrete, thoroughly documented,
scientifically and medically sound guarantee," says Gaesser, who
continues to study the benefits of this new approach with U.Va.
students and employees.
explains precisely why "sparking" works, stressing that the body
starts burning fat during the very first minute of exercise. He
offers an alternative to the time-consuming traditional fitness
formula decreed by the American College of Sports Medicine in 1998,
which advises exercise at heart-pounding, sweat-inducing intensity
for 20 minutes to a full hour, three to five days a week, plus spending
days off lifting weights and squeezing in a hour somewhere for stretching.
This grueling workout regimen has made millions feel defeated --
or too intimidated to even attempt it, the authors say.
Gaesser, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, co-authored
the fitness regimen, he realized soon afterward that it was an unrealistic
expectation for many people working full-time at sedentary jobs.
Having studied athletes, such as long-distance runners and swimmers,
who divide their rigorous workouts into shorter segments, he decided
to adapt that idea for non-athletes. He put together a new plan
to see if short bouts of physical activity could provide the same
health benefits. His study showed results in just three weeks: a
10 to 15 percent improvement in aerobic fitness among middle-aged
men and women; an increase in strength and muscular endurance from
40 percent to 100 percent; and a 15-point drop in total cholesterol
-- even higher for high-risk participants.
book aims to help individuals make the commitment to improving their
health and feeling good about it. Filled with testimony from "Spark"
converts, it also includes co-author Dougherty's story of making
the remarkable transition from couch potato to marathon bicyclist
at the age of 50.
Katherine Jackson, (804) 924-3629