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Bursts of exercise a health boost

Posted June 3, 2013

Short bursts of high-intensity exercise could be a one-stop solution for many health problems. Researchers from The University of Queensland are working to identify the best way to simultaneously combat problems with weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. They are also seeking participants to help with their study.

Professor Jeff Coombes at UQ’s School of Human Movement Studies said exercise was a proven way to manage health problems, and high-intensity interval training had emerged as a very promising option to provide extra health benefits.

High-intensity interval training involves alternating short periods of intense exercise with less intense exercise in the same session.

Dr Coombes said this style of exercise could provide better health benefits than doing sessions of continuous moderate-intensity exercise.

“Scientists have been working to develop a type of exercise that requires a few sessions each week, yet still provides large health benefits,” he said.

“We need to understand people’s responses to this type of exercise and if the training schedule can be maintained over time.”

Preliminary results suggest that high-intensity interval training three times a week for 16 weeks improves fat burning and can reverse high levels of blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol.

“We are working to confirm these exciting initial findings through a multi-centre international trial with 750 individuals,” Dr Coombes said.

People are invited to the study if they are 30 years or older, overweight, and have two of the following: 1) high glucose or diabetes; 2) high cholesterol; 3) high blood pressure.

Source: University of Queensland

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