Intensive exercise - the key to fitness?
Tuesday 15 December 2009
Not got time for a lengthy slog at the gym? Does your fitness routine comprise of a few snatched moments in front of an exercise DVD?
Fear not, as researchers at the University of Copenhagen have found that intense 30-second bursts or ‘sprints’ of exercise can improve your fitness quicker than a slower paced workout. There are even suggestions that capitalising on this phenomenon could mean that you need to work out less frequently to stay in shape!
Physiologist Professor Jens Bangsbo and his team discovered that whether your exercise of choice was cycling, swimming or jogging, half a minute was enough to improve your overall performance over a series of weeks.
The study observed runners who had added between six and 12 sprints to their runs and found that their years-old 10 kilometre personal best times were cut by one minute after just six weeks using the training method.
The science behind the effect is thought to be related to the amount of potassium in cells, which is vital for muscle movement. Exercise bursts result in higher potassium levels in tissues, the increased levels help muscles respond quicker and the person training or working out is able to move faster.
So now there’s no excuse for avoiding that lunchtime gym stop as half a minute of hard work can seemingly make all the difference! But I don’t think it means you can get away with just 30 seconds per week…
By Alison Rowley
What are your experiences of intensive workouts? Are you a fan of spinning, aerobics, skipping or punishing yourself on the treadmill?