If you hate exercising for a long period of time but force yourself to do it for the sake of your health, a new study from The Physiological Society has some good news. According to the researchers, a short bout of intense exercise, when done properly, can effectively replace longer sessions while improving multiple aspects of one’s health.
The new study evaluated the potential benefits of low-volume high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is defined as a brief warmup period followed by 15 minutes of high-intensity exercise and then a brief recovery period. The ‘intense’ part of the equation is key to the benefits, countering long low- and moderate-intensity exercise taking place over longer durations.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adults should get between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 to 100 minutes of “vigorous” exercise every week. However, many people find it difficult to set aside that much time for exercise while others find the idea of long-duration exercise boring.
Short bouts of high-intensity exercise may offer the same health benefits as 45-minutes of moderate-intensity aerobics, according to the new study, which found that as few as three 4-minute sessions of HIIT exercise weekly over 12 weeks was enough to see benefits.
The study notes improvements in liver fat, blood sugar levels, arterial health, heart function, and cardiorespiratory fitness, at least in adults who had type-2 diabetes. The findings were based on an analysis of more than 10 years of studies on the subject.