Three Minute Fitness?

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We are all encouraged to get as much exercise as possible in order to prevent putting on weight, combat disease and lead a healthy lifestyle.

However, the monotony of pounding the treadmill for 40 minutes or swimming lengths could be behind us with new research into high intensity training (HIT) that could revolutionise the way we stay active.

HIT is primarily used both for cardio work outs and involves maximal exertion over a period of 20 seconds for three sets. By completing this kind of work out for three times a week over a month, research from Birmingham University suggests that you would be able to gain the same benefits as someone who has spent a significant period of time completing moderate intensity exercise at the local gym.

So what are the benefits? Well unlike moderate intensity exercise such as jogging, high intensity training appears to help with the control of insulin sensitivity, which is a major cause for diabetes.

With around 80% of the muscle tissue being used through the short burst of exercise, the muscle breaks down a significant amount of glycogen which would unlikely to be required during a leisurely hour in the gym.

Aerobic fitness has also been seen to increase without the pain of stitches and blisters caused by a cold and wet road run. The bodies post exercise oxygen consumption appears 9 times higher keeping your metabolism high, meaning less rolls and more tone.

Still sounding too good to be true? There is a catch; this form of training like many others only works for a percentage of the population. Complex genetic studies have found that a number of people will be considered in a ‘non-respondent’ category, meaning despite completing the recommended bout of exercise they will fail to ever achieve any significant aerobic improvement due to their inherited genes.

However should you be a lucky ‘super respondent’ this type of activity could save you hours in the gym and allow more time for socialising.

HIT should be approached with care however as the study appears to be in the early stages. High intensity work increases the strain on the heart and lungs so using HIT as a basis from a sedentary lifestyle would be dangerous. It is important to combine this type of training with weight sessions to improve bone health and also a healthy balanced diet. 

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