With limited time to work out during PE classes, students gain more from shorter, higher-intensity workouts, studies show.

According to a recent New York Times article, it’s not the number of steps you take per day that can increase your fitness. If the steps aren’t stressful, then they aren’t helpful.

One minute of vigorous activity can be as effective as 45 minutes of moderate activity, writes Gretchen Reynolds.

Reynolds cites a study done at McMaster University in Ontario, where researchers measured results of two different groups: one working out at a more standard, moderate level of exercise and another working out for shorter lengths of time but at maximum exertion in an interval training program. Researchers collected workout data for 12 weeks and found that the endurance levels of both groups had improved by 20 percent.

The biggest, most telling, difference, though, came in the amount of time each group exercised to achieve that result. The group exercising at a moderate level rode stationary bikes for a total of 27 hours none of it high-intensity. The interval group exercised for only six hours, and only 36 minutes of that time at maximum effort.

“One minute of arduous exercise was comparable in its physiological benefits to 45 minutes of gentler sweating,” Reynolds summed up.

Adults can take this study and potentially use it convert their workout regimens from endurance-based training to a program of shorter, higher-intensity training, thus saving time in a busy week while producing similar fitness results.

PE teachers with access to the IHT Spirit System can use this research to continue evolving their curriculum. Teachers have a finite amount of time with each student, and being able to maximize that time by increasing student effort – and showing them the results – can empower students to do more the right way outside of class.