Short, intense bursts of exercise could be better for our health than longer intervals

Spending 2 minutes 30 seconds exercising at a high level of intensity, could be better at protecting the body against risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) than longer sessions of less intense exercise, claimed experts at the British Science Festival today.

The ability of the body to deal with fat following a high-fat meal is a marker for the likelihood that a person will develop CVD in the future. The faster the body is able to get rid of the fat in the blood following a high-fat meal, the less at risk that person is of developing CVD - for example atherosclerosis, which is the build up of fat within the blood vessels.

A study led by Dr Stuart Gray, from the University of Aberdeen's Musculoskeletal Research Programme asked participants to undertake 2.5 minutes of high- - 5 x 30 second sprints exerting themselves to their maximum ability with 4 minutes of rest between each sprint - before eating a high-fat meal.

Findings of the study—published in Clinical Science—showed the fat content in the blood of these participants after that meal was reduced by 33% compared to if they had not undertaken any exercise.

The in the blood is only reduced by 11% if a moderate intensity - 30 minutes of - is undertaken before the same meal is eaten.

Dr Graysaid: "Although , 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. "This is highly important as time is often cited as the main barrier to taking part in exercise.

"We are now investigating how long the benefits of a short high-intensity exercise session last on the body to analyse how frequently a person should exercise at this level to help protect the body against CVD. 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."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exercise reduces hunger in lean women but not obese women

Jun 17, 2008

Exercise does not suppress appetite in obese women, as it does in lean women, according to a new study. The results were presented Tuesday, June 17, at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

How exercise helps you avoid a broken heart

Jan 16, 2012

Joseph Libonati, PhD, associate professor of nursing at Penn Nursing answer’s questions about how exercise betters your heart health. Dr. Libonati is a cardiac physiology expert who focuses on heart health and hypertension.

Recommended for you

Preterm children's brains can catch up years later

4 hours ago

There's some good news for parents of preterm babies – latest research from the University of Adelaide shows that by the time they become teenagers, the brains of many preterm children can perform almost as well as those ...

Mortality rates increase due to extreme heat and cold

5 hours ago

Epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown that death rates rise in association with extremely hot weather. The heat wave in Western Europe in the summer of 2003, for example, resulted in about 22,000 extra deaths. A team ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

cwurld
not rated yet Sep 06, 2012
Wow. Thats quite an inductive leap from intensive exercise lowering the level of fat in the blood to the idea that it is more healthy. Good thing the body is not a complex, dynamic system or such leaps would be silly. Also, I have tried the style of exercise they are recommending. Yes it takes less time. But it is really unpleasant. It would be depressing to think I had to do that every day for the rest of my life.
ziphead
not rated yet Sep 07, 2012
Come on, this is silly.

We have two type of muscle fibres and two distinct modes of energy generation; we would not have them if we did not need them both.

Therefore, one would expect that we need an optimal mix of both types of activity to stay healthy.

People should exercise the way it feels natural and enjoyable; not count their heartbeats and crap like that.

alfie_null
not rated yet Sep 07, 2012
I bet the participants in that study were already reasonably fit. Making someone unaccustomed to any sort of activity exercise like that is probably asking for trouble.
Trenchant
1 / 5 (1) Sep 08, 2012
The problem with this is that young people generally don't have CVD. In mid-life and later, most peoples joints and connective tissue won't allow for us to be out doing wind sprints. I am in the mid-life range and exercise regularly, and have no desire to put my body through a regimen of wind sprints.