News ID: 238885
Published: 1228 GMT February 15, 2019

Short bursts of intensive exercise better than lengthy gym sessions for shedding pounds

Short bursts of intensive exercise better than  lengthy gym sessions for shedding pounds
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Bursts of intense exercise for just 23 minutes are better for weight loss than spending twice as long in the gym, research suggested.

Interval training — which involves alternating high and low-intensity effort — sheds more pounds than a workout that is of the same moderate intensity throughout, experts found, according to The Telegraph.

The study, published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at 36 studies involving more than 1,000 people.

It found that those using high-intensity interval training (HIIT) lost substantially more weight than those sticking with traditional gym routines.

The best results of all were achieved by those adopting short but extreme bursts of exercise — known as sprint training.

The method, used in running and cycling, typically means going ‘all out’ for 30 seconds before a four minute recovery period of slower exercise.

Participants in such regimes lost six percent of body fat, compared with loss of 3.4 percent among those doing a standard gym session of 41 minutes.

Overall, those taking part in all types of HIIT training lost 29 percent more weight than those taking part in conventional workouts, losing an average of 3.5 pounds, compared with 2.5 pounds among other gym-goers.

People wanting to lose weight are often advised to spend an hour or more exercising each day.

But the researchers said few people find the time, while shorter workouts could be easier to achieve.

The results showed that both interval training and a continuous workout reduced overall weight and percentage body fat.

While both approaches helped reduce percentage body fat to the same extent, interval training was better for shedding pounds.

The experts, from universities in Brazil and the School of Sport, Health and Social Sciences in Hampshire, said: "Interval training is an attractive alternative to address overweight and obesity given its potential to offer benefits similar to moderate-intensity continuous training while requiring less time."

But they said people should take care as interval training "might increase the risk of injury and impose higher cardiovascular stress".

Steven Ward, chief executive of fitness body Ukactive said, “These figures clearly show the positive health impacts of HIIT on reducing weight, and with Britain battling a grave obesity crisis, this research should be welcomed.”

But he said the most important aspect of exercise was finding something that was enjoyable enough to stick with.

“For some that may mean squeezing in a high-intensity spin class, for others it might mean a lunchtime jog in the park or a walk with the family on the weekend,” he said.

   
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