Less cardio for better results

Did you know that less cardio may give you better results from your workouts? For years we’ve become so accustomed to the mantra of cardio for health and weight loss, that many people have forgotten that there are other – better – ways of working out.

The recommendations from doctors and health experts are that we should aim for an hour of moderate intensity exercise each day – this includes activities such as brisk walking, dancing, or gardening. For children it might also include sports and clubs that involve exercise.

However, there is an alternative prescription. Vigorous exercise – that is, exercise performed at higher intensities – has a greater effect on the body, and thus requires less time each day to have the same effect. So, for example, twenty minutes a day of interval exercises may provide the same level of benefits as much longer workouts done at a more moderate intensity.

The Journal of Physiology reports the findings of a new study that found that twenty minute high-intensity interval training provided the same benefits as longer, endurance style exercise sessions.

In the study, men performed interval training on a stationary bike for twenty minutes – the sessions involved alternating pedalling at the highest intensity they could for a minute, then pedalling more slowly to rest for a minute, throughout the 20-minute session.

The researchers reported that the participants received the same benefits as they would have had they exercised at a lower intensity for an hour or more, suggesting that this type of interval training offers an alternative to endurance training as a way to improve metabolic health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

This supports other research that has demonstrated that high intensity training is not only a highly effective way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, it is also the best way to boost your body’s fat-burning capabilities.

High intensity training (HIT) is so effective because of the effects it has on your metabolism. Not only do you burn calories during the workout, you also give your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories) a kick start, meaning that your body begins to burn more calories 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

The most effective forms of HIT are interval training, and high intensity weight training. Both of these boost your metabolic rate, encourage fat burning, and stimulate the body’s production of growth hormone.

This is a great help to time pressed people, as it means that a short, intensive workout can achieve all the benefits and more of a longer endurance workout. Less time and better results – what more could you ask for?

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