EXERCISE: Moderate physical exercise has metabolic advantages
February 10, 2021 • 1 min read
-- HIIT sessions get all the kudos, but gentle exercise may support better health
Both high-intensity and longer, gentler workouts offer health benefits, but the positive impacts on blood pressure, body fat and other aspects of metabolism may be greater after a standard half-hour of moderate exercise than interval training.
Research conducted by exercise scientists at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, put one group of men through interval training three times a week on static bicycles. They rode at maximum intensity for 30 seconds, rested two minutes, and repeated the sequence four-to-six times.
The other group of men followed a moderate exercise programme, riding five times a week at a pace they could comfortably sustain for 30-to-40 minutes.
Over the next six weeks, the HIIT group rode a grand total of less than an hour, while the moderate intensity group spun their legs for at least 2.5 hours each week.
Lab testing showed that both groups of men improved their fitness to a similar extent. But only those in the moderate-exercise group had shed much body fat, improved their blood pressure, or become better able to metabolize fat.
Predictably, everyone’s blood-sugar control improved on the days they exercised.
The results suggest that bursts of high-intensity training and extended periods of moderate-intensity training alter our bodies in divergent ways. Before embarking on an exercise regime, consider what you hope to achieve.
Concentrate more on frequent, almost-daily moderate exercise if improving blood pressure and blood-sugar control are at the top of the list. Go heavy on HIIT if you’re all about looking good at the beach.
Mix it up.