My calm, loving Labrador Retriever, Halo, gets up and runs for a few seconds like a mad dog at full speed around the backyard several times a week with no encouragement or prompting. Seeing her glowing example a few years ago, I suspected there must be some strange health benefit to mad-dog sprinting. I took it up.
Then I came across a woman’s blog who said that her life transformed dramatically after doing high-intensity interval training. So I doubled my efforts on my treadmill. But I didn’t run at full capacity. Rookie mistake.
And I sprinted on my toes, intending to conserve my knees. It turns out that sprinting on your toes for a year or two gives you Morton’s neuromas. Live and learn.
Here’s a spell-binding, science-based video that shows how to do this entire thing right, and why it’s magic for your mitochondria and brain health.
Professor David Bishop (Victoria University) took muscle biopsies of a test group (high intensity) and a control group (endurance aerobic exercise) and found up to a 30% increase in the test groups’s muscle fiber’s ability to use oxygen to produce energy after 4 weeks of high-intensity interval training. The control group’s muscle biopsies showed NO improvement.
I wonder if this has any relevance to Eliud Kipchoge’s phenomenal running career: The first (and only) man to run the marathon distance in less than two hours was a sprinter in the early years of his career. (Did he increase his mitochondria’s ability to use oxygen more than the endurance runners who likely spent their entire careers in distance training?)
Reading the comments below the video, I noticed that it disappointed several people to learn that the workout Anja Taylor did took “30 minutes” instead of the six minutes set forth in the video’s title. So I left a comment to this effect:
If you rest 4.5 minutes between sprints, as Anja Taylor did, it takes 20 minutes per workout session (not 30).
She did four 30-second sprints with four 4.5 minute rests after each sprint, totaling a workout time of 20 minutes per session. She did three sessions per week for four months.
So each session took 20 minutes. But you don’t have to rest as long as she did. If you rest 1.5 minutes between 30 second sprints, the total workout time per session is 6 minutes, as advertised. To me, resting a minute and a half after sprinting 30 seconds is more than adequate.
The question from a scientific perspective would be whether the resting time between sprints would change the outcome for the mitochondria. Intuitively, I suspect a shorter resting time adds work stress to the mitochondria, causing greater positive adaptation and a more favorable outcome in terms of mitochondrial capacity to use oxygen. But that’s a guess. I could be wrong.
Anyway, you will really enjoy this video. Especially if you’re a writer working at a desk all day.
Summertime love to you and yours,
Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD
PS. Please check with your doctor before starting this workout routine. But give it a go if she/he says it’s OK for you.