Good news for exercisers! We have been taught that in order to achieve weight loss or fitness gains, it is necessary to exercise for a minimum of thirty minutes at a time. However, new research shows reports that this notion is incorrect. Researchers claim that a mere two and a half minutes of really intense exercise can be just as effective as a ninety minute run!
Researcher Stuart Gray from Aberdeen University conducted a study in which he had three groups of men, aged 18 – 35, do different cardiovascular workouts. The workouts were either high intensity sprints, cycling or walking for 30 minutes.
He discovered that the men who did high-intensity sprints as hard as they could for thirty seconds, then rested for four minutes, then did it again and maintained this pattern for four repetitions, decreased the fat in their blood more quickly than those who walked for thirty minutes.
Before exercising, the researchers had the participants eat a high fat breakfast to increase fat levels in the blood. After their various workouts, they measured the fat content in the blood and found that the walkers only lowered the fat by 11% whereas the sprinters lowered their fat content by 33%. The 33% drop in fat levels within the blood is equal to the expected drop after a 90 minute run.
These results suggest that we can reap similar rewards by exercising at a higher intensity for less time. Although short workouts may not boost strength, they do improve stamina and endurance. Furthermore, the lowered fat content in our blood decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Said Gray, “Although moderate intensity, longer sessions of exercise can help protect the body against CVD, the findings of our study showed that high-intensity shorter intervals of exercise might be a more effective method to improve health and reduce the time commitment to exercise. Our initial findings suggest that this type of exercise session would need to be undertaken on most days of the week to maintain the associated health benefits for the body.” Read more here.