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

September 6, 2012

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."

Explore further: Christmas Day stroll helps fight festive fat

Related Stories

Christmas Day stroll helps fight festive fat

December 21, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A traditional Christmas Day family walk could help reduce fat levels in the blood, according to scientists at the University of Glasgow.

How exercise helps you avoid a broken heart

January 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.

Exercise reduces risk of death from cardiovascular disease in people with high blood pressure

April 19, 2012
In the study, all-cause and CVD mortality risks were found to be significantly higher among study participants that didn't exercise compared with active participants at all blood pressure levels. Moreover, the excess mortality ...

Recommended for you

Experts devise plan to slash unnecessary medical testing

October 17, 2017
Researchers at top hospitals in the U.S. and Canada have developed an ambitious plan to eliminate unnecessary medical testing, with the goal of reducing medical bills while improving patient outcomes, safety and satisfaction.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

No evidence that widely marketed technique to treat leaky bladder/prolapse works

October 16, 2017
There is no scientific evidence that a workout widely marketed to manage the symptoms of a leaky bladder and/or womb prolapse actually works, conclude experts in an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

Ten pence restaurant chain levy on sugary drinks linked to fall in sales

October 16, 2017
The introduction of a 10 pence levy on sugar sweetened drinks across the 'Jamie's Italian' chain of restaurants in the UK was associated with a relatively large fall in sales of these beverages of between 9 and 11 per cent, ...

New exercises help athletes manage dangerous breathing disorder

October 16, 2017
A novel set of breathing techniques developed at National Jewish Health help athletes overcome vocal cord dysfunction and improve performance during high-intensity exercise. Vocal cord dysfunction, now also referred to as ...

Learning and staying in shape key to longer lifespan, study finds

October 13, 2017
People who are overweight cut their life expectancy by two months for every extra kilogramme of weight they carry, research suggests.

4 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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.