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Short Bursts of Exercise just as Effective as Sweating at the Gym

Update Date: Feb 02, 2013 01:04 PM EST

Researchers from UK say that people can opt for high intensity workouts that require as little as 90 minute a week and stay healthy instead of spending hours at a gym

People in the U.S. are advised to get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate physical activity a week along with muscle strengthening exercises two or more days a week, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, people find it difficult to get the recommended amount of physical activity due to busy lifestyles and social engagements.

Researchers found that spending few minutes a day doing High intensity Interval Training (HIT) and Sprint Interval Training (SIT) can make a significant difference in peoples' health. Just 90 minutes per week of these forms of exercise routines is better than the traditional endurance exercise sessions done at the gym, two recent study articles reported in The Journal of Physiology.

"One mechanism involves improved delivery of insulin and glucose to the skeletal muscle and the other involves improved burning of the fat stored in skeletal muscle fibres. Additionally, we found a reduced stiffness of large arteries which is important in reducing the risk of vascular disease," explained Matthew Cocks from Liverpool John Moores University in a news release.

"SIT involves four to six repeated 30 second 'all out' sprints on special laboratory bikes interspersed with 4.5 minutes of very low intensity cycling. Due to the very high workload of the sprints, this method is more suitable for young and healthy individuals," said Sam Shepherd from LJMU.

Shepherd added that people of any age can follow the Hit program that involved 15 to 60 seconds of high intensity cycling between 2 to 4 minutes of low intensity cycling. These exercises can be performed at the gym or at home.

Researchers say that since Hit and SIT require less time and equipment, they are a safe and effective workout sessions for people who haven't got the time to stick to a traditional exercise routine. These short bursts of exercise can help keep the heart healthy and control glucose levels in the body.

The study is published in the Journal of Physiology

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