Short Bouts of High Intensity Exercise may be as Effective – or Better Than – Walking

Champion Figure Skater, Madeleine Frey

Champion Figure Skater, my 4-year-old niece, Madeleine Frey, doing high intensity exercise!

For people with Type 2 Diabetes or anyone trying to lose weight, we all know physical activity is a key part of health management. Walking (low – to – medium intensity exercise) is effective, but takes time to get your 10,000 daily pedometer steps.

So what I’m about to tell you may be good news if you have limited time: A new study, recently published in the journal, Circulation, shows there may be an alternate and effective way to lose weight, lower blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol. People were divided into two groups; one group did 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week at 65% of their target heart rate, while the other did 10 minutes of exercise, three times a day, 5 days a week at 85% of target heart rate. Those who were assigned to the high intensity group ended up exercising more. They also showed larger improvements in glucose levels, lipid profiles (cholesterol), body weight, and cardiovascular fitness as compared to the lower intensity group.

Were the improvements due to the intensity of the exercise or the fact that the high intensity group ended up exercising more? No matter. This study, and others I’ve seen, show short bursts of high intensity exercise will get the results you need to manage your health, so I recommend it to anyone with limited time, and with the ability to exercise intensely.

But if you have even less time, you may not even have to do 10 minutes.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found ten seconds works! Their study found that a full ten minutes of high intensity exercise may not be necessary and that most people can’t tolerate that amount of intensity. The Danish study found four 10 second bouts of intense exercise may do the trick. The researchers came up with a formula they called 10-20-30: Start with 30 seconds of regular intensity exercise (bike or walking, etc),  increase to 20 seconds of medium intensity, then accelerate to 10 seconds of high intensity exercise, and repeat 4 times. And while their subjects were only exercising for 12 minutes they were achieving significant health results, such as lower blood pressures.

That said, my experience with hundreds of clients over the years, proves walking works! You can lose body fat, lower blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol by walking – not to mention improve thinking and memory, increase energy levels and self-esteem, reduce arthritis pain, and even improve gastrointestinal health. But, if you don’t have the time or the patience for long stretches of walking, don’t worry, as it seems there are other ways to get results! Bump up your exercise intensity for shorter periods of time through the day.

Bottom line: Just move! If walking is your preferred way, that will get you the results you want. But these studies show short bursts of high intensity exercise may also gets results, and perhaps even better results.

For me: I’ll stick with walking to keep my knees and back happy. Though, occasionally, I’ve included four 10-20-30 intervals while getting my 10,000 daily pedometer steps. It seems to improve my endurance, especially when I drink my cafe latte before exercise!

Call Katherine: 202-833-0353 or Email Her
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