According to a new review, super-short intervals could even, in some cases, burn more fat than a long walk or jog, but the effort involved needs to be arduous.
A few minutes of brief, intense exercise may be as effective as much lengthier walks or other moderate workouts for incinerating body fat, according to a helpful new review of the effects of exercise on fat loss. The review finds that super-short intervals could even, in some cases, burn more fat than a long walk or jog, but the effort involved needs to be arduous.
I have written many times about the health, fitness and brevity benefits of high-intensity interval training, which typically involves a few minutes — or even seconds — of strenuous exertion followed by a period of rest, with the sequence repeated multiple times. Most H.I.I.T. workouts require less than half an hour, from beginning to end (including a warm-up and cool-down), and the strenuous portions of the workout are even briefer.
But despite this concision, studies show that interval workouts can improve aerobic fitness, blood sugar control, blood pressure and other measures of health and fitness to the same or a greater extent than standard endurance training, such as brisk walking or jogging, even if it lasts two or three times as long.
People being people, though, the most common question I hear about quickie intervals and have asked, on my own behalf, is whether they also will aid in weight control and fat loss.
Only a few past studies have directly compared the fat-burning effects of endurance training to those of short interval workouts, however, and their results have been inconsistent. Some indicate that intervals prompt significant fat loss and others that any losses are negligible when compared to the effects of endurance training.
But those studies have almost all been small and short-term. They also used many different approaches to interval and endurance exercise, making the findings difficult to interpret.
So, for the new review, which was published in January in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers from Brazil and Britain decided to pull together as much data as possible from all of the existing, high-quality studies looking at intervals and body fat.