You’ve heard me talk about the importance of incoporating INTENSE exercise into your fitness regimen. I’ve spoken about how high intensity exercise- both weight training and cardio-is safe for most populations( as long as you start at a level appropriate for your fitness and progress up), and you’ve heard me expound on the fat burning, muscle building, time saving qualities of high intensity exercise. Well, two recent studies sent to me online by Exercise Etc. confirm further what I have been saying.
One study looked at the impact of high intensity interval training on Metabolic Syndrome, often a pre-cursor to diabetes and a major risk for heart disease, that is marked by large amounts of abdominal and visceral fat. After 16 weeks of exercise, the group that performed high intensity interval training (3x/week at 85% of HRR) lowered all factors associated with bodyfat (triglycerides,cholesterol etc) and lost an amazing 4 times more overall bodyfat and 5 times more abdominal fat than the exercise group that performed low intensity training. The low intensity group showed NO significant changes in bodyfat or cardiometabolic risk factors.
In a second study, researchers looked at whether a low weight circuit program would enhance bone density in post menopausal women. This low weight circuit is similar to what many women may perform at “Curves” or another women’s circuit training facility. When compared with women performing high intensity strength training exercises(who showed improvement in bone density), the circuit group showed NO improvement in bone density. In fact, there was a slight downward trend! While this study was quite short in duration, it implies that INTENSE exercise is once again the key for musculoskeletal improvements as well as metabolic and body fat improvements.
So, next time you are complaining about how hard your exercise regimen is, think twice. Hard exercise produces results and is very time efficient. Of course, safety of any exercise program should always be adressed, but with the help of a knowledgeable personal trainer, intense exercise can be created for all levels of fitness!