The sports and exercise scientists at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and the University of Birmingham determined that significant health and fitness gains can made in less than a third of the time of a long workout, such as running for miles or a lengthy stint at the gym. The current recommendation of the U.K. Department of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) is that people of all ages should do 5 hours of endurance training per week to increase health and fitness, but as most people may find it difficult to set aside the time, the research team wanted to work on a time-saving solution.
The new research published in The Journal of Physiology took existing research to a new level to show that replacing endurance training with two types of interval training, High Intensity Interval Training (HIT) and Sprint Interval Training (SIT) can make a considerable difference in one's health and aerobic fitness. The research team found that three sessions of SIT at 90 minutes total per week are as effective as five sessions of traditional endurance exercise in increasing whole body insulin sensitivity via two independent mechanisms.
Professor Anton Wagenmakers, the lead author of the study, says that he expects that HIT and SIT will be unique alternative exercise modes suitable to prevent hypertension, blood vessel disease, diabetes, and other ageing and obesity-related chronic diseases. Another LJMU researcher explains that SIT involves 4 to 6 repeated 30 second 'all out' sprints on special laboratory bikes interspersed with 4.5 minutes of low intensity cycling. The HIT program involves 15 to 60 second bursts of high intensity cycling interspersed with 2 to 4 minute intervals of low intensity cycling.
According to the Science Daily report, HIT may be an ideal alternative to various exercises, such as running, long endurance cycling sessions, and cycling trips. The research team believes that there may be a promising future for HIT in obese and elderly individuals as well as those living with diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease.
Source: The Journal of Physiology