According to this article in today’s New York Times (“How 1-Minute Intervals Can Improve Your Health”), High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has significant physiological benefits.

HIIT is an approach to exercise that involves alternating short, intense bursts of exercise with equally short rest periods—for example, one minute on and one minute off—for a total of about twenty minutes.

Although athletes have been using HIIT to boost speed and endurance, according to new research, HIIT has other benefits, too. These include the improvement of blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity, improvement in the functioning of the blood vessels and heart, lowering the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and the “creation of far more cellular proteins involved in energy production and oxygen.”

The most attractive thing about HIIT, however, has to do with its user-friendliness. In general, the research subjects tested seemed more motivated to do HIIT than the longer, if less intense, forms of aereobic exercise typically recommended.

I was delighted to read about this research, not just because I am a fan of HIIT and do it regularly at the gym, but because  short, intense physical training provides a wonderful metaphor for the short, intense mental training that I have been teaching, which I call "One-Moment Meditation." 

The key idea of One-Moment Meditation is that short, intense bursts of meditation have some significant benefits. And taking a short break after a short period of meditation (before you do another such period, or before you go back to everyday life) has some interesting benefits, too.

For many people, shorter forms of meditation are attractive because they fit more easily into a busy schedule. Shorter forms of meditation are attractive to people who have tried longer forms of meditation and “failed.”

Beyond that, as with HIIT, there seems to be some value in approaching these short intervals of meditation with intensity. Indeed, when I train people in the first exercise, which I call the Basic Minute, I actually encourage them to “go for it”—to put some oomph into it.