Last month we published an article on heat therapy and the research on it showing that it can be as effective in warding off chronic disease in people as two hours of exercise because of its impact on our mitochondria. But now, a new study is suggesting that we might not even have to exercise for that long to get those benefits! The small study conducted by researchers from the American Physiological Society was published in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.
A team of researchers studied a group of eight young adult participants who engaged in cycling workouts at different levels of intensity. The intensity levels of the workouts were as follows:
– Moderate: These workouts lasted for half an hour, non-stop and were done at a peak effort of 50 per cent.
– High intensity interval workouts: These involved four five-minute workouts conducted at 75 per cent peak effort and were each separated by 60 seconds of rest.
– Sprint workouts: These involved four 30 second bouts of intense cycling at maximum effort each separated with 4 minutes and 30 seconds of rest.
The researchers measured the energy expenditure of the participants for each workout type and assessed the differences in the mitochondrial activity in their thigh muscles before and after exercise. They also measured the levels of hydrogen peroxide (H202) in the mitochondria, as this changes after exercise. They found that saw that the participants’ H202 levels had risen enough to potentially encourage changes in the cells that have a positive effect on metabolic function.
The findings of this study indicate that fewer minutes of intense exercise could have a similar effect on muscle mitochondria to longer, moderate-intensity workouts. In fact, the researchers specifically note that just two minutes of sprint-level activity can have comparable results with half an hour of moderate aerobic activity. They also believe that these findings suggest that exercise regimens can be prescribed according to people’s preferences and that they shed more light on the potential benefits exercise can have on population metabolic health.
So what are you waiting for? Get moving! Whether you prefer 10 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or 30-minute walks around the corniche are your thing, there are plenty of ways to stay fit and keep healthy for longer.
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Sources: Science Daily,