No time to exercise? Think again, according to a recent study, which suggests that a short burst of very intense exercise may produce the same health benefits as longer, traditional endurance training.
Researchers at McMaster University performed the study to determine how sprint interval training (SIT) compared to moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) in terms of cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity.
The study, published recently in the journal PLOS ONE, included 27 sedentary men, who were assigned either to an exercise group to perform three weekly sessions of either intense or moderate training for 12 weeks, or to a control group that did not exercise, explains a media release from McMaster University.
The SIT protocol involves three 20-second “all-out” cycle sprints. The 10-minute workout includes a 2-minute warm-up, a 3-minute cool-down, and 2 minutes of easy cycling for recovery between the hard sprints.
The study compared the results from participants who either sprinted all out via the SIT protocol or cycled continuously at a moderate pace for 45 minutes (MICT protocol), with the same warm-up and cool-down activities. After the 12-week time period, the results were remarkably similar, even though the MICT protocol involved five times as much exercise and a five-fold greater time commitment, according to the release.
“Most people cite ‘lack of time’ as the main reason for not being active,” says Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and the study’s lead author, in the release. “Our study shows that an interval-based approach can be more efficient—you can get health and fitness benefits comparable to the traditional approach, in less time.”
“The basic principles apply to many forms of exercise,” he adds. “Climbing a few flights of stairs on your lunch hour can provide a quick and effective workout. The health benefits are significant.”
[Source(s): McMaster University, EurekAlert]