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Short bursts of intense activity may be more beneficial: Study

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Shorter bouts of intense may produce more benefits than hours of moderate-level physical activity, according to a study.

Experts have long agreed that adults should aim for roughly 150 minutes of moderate per week, said researchers from the (ASU) in the US.

When the guidelines were first published in 2008, it was thought that in order to obtain meaningful benefits, those 150 minutes had to be accrued in bouts of at least 30 minutes of activity at a time, they said.

The researchers have been working together for over a decade to research the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) -- characterised by short bursts of intense activity -- on various outcomes.

In more than one study, they found that HIIT was better than traditional, continuous bouts of at lowering blood pressure.

"Short bouts always do as well and sometimes better than longer bouts," said Glenn Gaesser, a at ASU.

A common misconception about HIIT is that it's too difficult for the average person.

In actuality, HIIT is tailored to an individual's personal capabilities.

The principle is to do just enough to elevate your heart rate to the point just before you start to feel fatigued -- which is different for everyone -- and then stop, researchers said.

Generally, one HIIT bout takes anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes.

"You can rest for as much or as little time between each bout as you like, as long as you do enough bouts each week to add up to 150 minutes, researchers said.

"That makes it easy to incorporate HIIT into a busy schedule; on a regular workday, you can get 30 minutes of in by taking a few minutes' break every hour to climb the stairwell or take a brisk walk around the office building," they said.

In an animal study, less than 10 per cent of rats dosed with HIIT before receiving died from cardiac-related reasons, while roughly 50 per cent of rats who were not dosed with HIIT before died from

"It was night and day," said ASU Assistant

"And when we looked at their hearts via electron microscopy, the hearts that got the without were just wrecked. Whereas the hearts that got exercise before the were relatively preserved," Angadi said.

Initial results of the first human trials taking place at Angadi and Gaesser's lab indicate that hearts of patients dosed with HIIT are faring better than those in a control group who were only asked to walk 10,000 steps each day.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 13:15 IST