| Why Is Vigorous Exercise Gaining More
Recognition For Long-Term Weight Loss?
the last few years, there have been an increasing amount of reports
and studies on the beneficial effects of vigorous exercise. over
are increasingly more. What qualifies as vigorous exercise, and
what will are the real benefits to your physical and mental long-term
While for most, vigorous
exercise means 20 miles of running or hours and hours of physically
taxing workouts, scientists are now discovering that relatively
short duration, high-intensity interval training is the key to
long-term weight loss, sometimes regardless of diet.
Some gymgoers are tortoises. They prefer to take their sweet time,
leisurely pedaling or ambling along on a treadmill. Others are
hares, impatiently racing through miles at high intensity.
findings suggest that for at least one workout a week it pays
to be both tortoise and hare alternating short bursts of
high-intensity exercise with easy-does-it recovery.
alternating fast-slow technique, called interval training, is
hardly new. For decades, serious athletes have used it to improve
performance. But a workout with steep peaks and valleys can dramatically
improve cardiovascular fitness and raise the bodys potential
to burn fat.
Best of all, the benefits become evident in a matter of weeks.
Bursts of Exercise
Doing bursts of hard exercise not only improves cardiovascular
fitness but also the bodys ability to burn fat, even
during low- or moderate-intensity workouts, according to a study
published this month, also in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Eight women in their early 20s cycled for 10 sets of four minutes
of hard riding, followed by two minutes of rest. Over two weeks,
they completed seven interval workouts.
training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous
moderate cycling increased by 36 percent, said Jason L. Talanian,
the lead author of the study and an exercise scientist at the
University of Guelph in Ontario. Cardiovascular fitness
the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to working
muscles improved by 13 percent. Results were independent
from any type of special dieting or food plans.
It didnt matter how fit the subjects were before. Borderline
sedentary subjects and the college athletes had similar increases
in fitness and fat burning. Even when interval training
was added on top of other exercise they were doing, they still
saw a significant improvement, Mr. Talanian said.
training isnt for everyone. Pushing your heart rate
up very high with intensive interval training can put a strain
on the cardiovascular system, provoking a heart attack or stroke
in people at risk, said Walter R. Thompson, professor
of exercise science at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
For anyone with heart
disease or high
blood pressure or who has joint problems such as
arthritis or is older than 60 experts say to consult
a doctor before starting interval training.
in good health might consider doing interval training once or
twice a week. Joggers can alternate walking and sprints. Swimmers
can complete a couple of fast laps, then four more slowly.
no single accepted formula for the ratio between hard work and
a moderate pace or resting. In fact, many coaches recommend
varying the duration of activity and rest.
guidelines apply. The high-intensity phase should be long and
strenuous enough that a person is out of breath typically
one to four minutes of exercise at 80 to 85 percent of their
rate. Recovery periods should not last long enough for their
pulse to return to its resting rate.
Special About Interval Training
What is so special about interval
training? One advantage is that it allows exercisers to
spend more time doing high-intensity activity than they could
in a single sustained effort. The rest period in interval
training gives the body time to remove some of the waste products
of working muscles, said Barry A. Franklin, the director
of the cardiac rehabilitation and exercise laboratories at the
William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.
To go hard,
the body must use new muscle fibers. Once these recent recruits
are trained, they are available to burn fuel even during easy-does-it
workouts. Any form of exercise that recruits new muscle
fibers is going to enhance the bodys ability to metabolize
carbohydrates and fat, Dr. Coyle said.
training also stimulates change in mitochondria, where fuel
is converted to energy, causing them to burn fat first
even during low- and moderate-intensity workouts, Mr. Talanian
fat burning means endurance athletes can go further before tapping
into carbohydrate stores. It is also welcome news to anyone
trying to lose weight or avoid gaining it.
many people arent active enough to keep muscles healthy.
At the sedentary extreme, one result can be what Dr. Coyle calls
metabolic stalling carbohydrates in the form
of blood glucose and fat particles in the form of triglycerides
sit in the blood. That, he suspects, could be a contributing
factor to metabolic
syndrome, the combination of obesity,
resistance, high cholesterol and elevated triglycerides
that increases the risk of heart
disease and diabetes.
new muscle fibers and increasing the bodys ability to
use fuel, interval training could potentially lower the risk
of metabolic syndrome.
training does amount to hard work, but the sessions can be short.
Best of all, a workout that combines tortoise and hare leaves
little time for boredom.
An older study
in 2005 that appeared in The Journal of Physiology, found that
higher amounts of vigorous exercise cut deep belly fat and fat
around the waist. . It took place at Duke University under the
supervision of exercise physiologist Cris Slentz, Ph.D., and colleagues.
had it her way, people would quit thinking "weight loss"
and start thinking "health gain."
we are able to prevent the weight that many dieters regain following
short-term success, we should place a greater national emphasis
towards prevention," says Slentz in a news release.
will be a challenge to change the message from 'exercise now
to lose weight' to 'exercise now so in five years you won't
be 20 pounds heavier,'" she continues.
belly fat is hidden, why does it matter? The stakes may be too
high for an out-of-sight, out-of-mind outlook.
fat (technically called "visceral
fat" or fat surrounding organs within the abdomen)
has been linked to health problems including heart disease,
type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of risk
factors that greatly increase the chance of developing these
fat hasn't been proven to cause those conditions, but it seems
to at least be a red flag of possible health risks, write Slentz
By the way,
visceral fat isn't just for the millions of overweight or obese
people. Thin people can also have visceral fat if they're not
study, research finds vigorous exercise equals better academics.
The research was published in the Medicine & Science in
Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American
College of Sports Medicine.
academic year, the study tracked more than 200 sixth graders.
For one semester half of the students took the general physical
education class offered by the school, while the other half
took part in a non-physical education course. Halfway through
the school year they switched.
found that students taking the physical education course did
no better or worse in their academic classes.
they also found that students who took part in more vigorous
physical activities such as organized sports like soccer
or football, or non-organized after-school activities such as
skateboarding did approximately 10 percent better in
core classes such as math, science, English and social studies.
have precious few studies that link activity or fitness to measurable
academic outcomes, said Jim Pivarnik, an MSU professor
with appointments in kinesiology, epidemiology, and physical
medicine and rehabilitation who is one of the studys co-authors.
Considering all the factors that go into what determines
students grades in school, a 10 percent increase by the
most physically active kids is huge.
Its long been speculated that fitness and improved academic
performance go hand in hand, said Dawn Podulka Coe, the studys
lead author who was a Michigan State University doctoral student
when she led the project.
education and activity during the school day reduce boredom
and help keep kids attention in the classroom, said
Coe, who is now an assistant professor in the Department of
Movement Science at Grand Valley State University. We
were expecting to find that students enrolled in PE would have
better grades because of the opportunity to be active during
the school day. But enrollment in PE alone did not influence
students who performed better academically in this study were
the most active, meaning those who participated in a sport or
other vigorous activity at least three times a week.
between vigorous activity and moderate activity is heart rate.
Moderate activities, such as walking or raking leaves, dont
get the heart rate up or make the person breathe harder.
activities, such as running or swimming for exercise, increase
heart rate, causing the exerciser to breathe harder.
Burning Fat: Difference Between Walking And Running
Every kind of training, whether it's interval or otherwise
has the potential to burn fat, it's how much fat is burned that
makes the difference between one activity and the next.
exercise is not as effective as high-intensity exercise at burning
calories. High-intensity exercise is not as effective (percentage
wise) as low-intensity exercise at burning fat calories. Regardless,
high-intensity exercise always wins the race at burning more
total fat calories in the end.
are an important consideration since you need to be in a daily
calorie deficit to lose weight. Low-intensity walking
typically burns a greater percentage of fat calories than running.
For example, say you walk for 60 minutes and burn 300 total
calories. The percentage of fat burned for energy usually averages
about 70%. When you take 70% of 300 this means you've burned
210 fat calories. BUT jogging burns average 40% of calories
from fat, so if you jogged the same duration (60 min) then you'll
have burned likely over 600 calories. If 40% of those come from
fat, that's 240 calories. So even though you're burning a lower
percentage of fat calories when you jog, it is still a greater
amount of fat calories and total calories in the end which helps
maintain a daily calorie deficit and accordingly a greater chance
at weight loss.
with high-intensity exercise is that it's typically harder mentally
and physically so it's difficult to keep up with it unless you
program yourself and commit to a tough workout every week. Age
and health are also factors. The best route: Alternate low-intensity
and high-intensity to avoid burn out and make workouts more
enjoyable and varied. This type of training gives you the highest
probability of enjoyment and long-term success.