Fitting in enough exercise to stay in shape can be nigh-on impossible with hectic schedules and busy social lives. But new research has found that if we can grab two and a half minutes a day, a short, high intensity exercise regime could go some way to make up for skipping the gym and help keep us slim and healthy.
High Intensity Training (HIT) involves bursts of intense exercise that are broken up with short recovery periods, and according to new research, it could have the same benefits as standard endurance training.
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The study investigated the calories burned by five healthy participants between the ages of 25 and 31 over a three day period. They lived in a sealed room and had their calorie intake controlled. For two of the days they didn’t exercise, doing mostly sedentary activities such as working on a computer. On the third day they were given five 30 second sprint workouts on an exercise bike with the resistance turned up high.
Between the 30 second intense exercise bursts, the participants had four minutes of recovery time where they pedalled slowly against little resistance. At the end they were found to have burned around 200 extra calories each on the day they undertook the training.
Few of us manage to fit in the recommended 30 minutes of moderate activity five times a week. But a two and a half minute option certainly takes out the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse.
Kyle Sevits, who worked on the study said: “Research shows that many people start an exercise programme but just can’t keep it up.
“The biggest factor people quote is that they don’t have the time to fit in exercise. We hope if exercise can be fitted into a smaller period of time, they may give it a go.”
One of the ways HIT is thought to work is by improving insulin sensitivity, which helps the body keep blood sugar levels stable. It may also help to break down glucose (sugar) stored in the muscles as it works them harder than standard aerobic training, albeit for a much shorter time period.
We reckon we could just about fit 150 seconds into our day – does it appeal more than an hour at the gym? Tell us what work out works for you on Twitter – @YLifestyleUK.