Short periods of exercises can still improve heart health
rpshen | June 4, 2008 at 12:20 pmby
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The research compared individuals who completed interval training using 30-second "all-out" sprints three days a week to a group who completed between 40 and 60 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling five days a week.
It found that six weeks of intense sprint interval exercise training improves the structure and function of arteries as much as traditional and longer endurance exercise with larger time commitment.
The findings support the idea that people can exercise using brief, high-intensity forms of exercise and reap the same benefits to cardiovascular health that can be derived from traditional, long-duration and moderately intense exercise.
"As we age, the arteries become stiffer and tend to lose their ability to dilate, and these effects contribute to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease," says Maureen MacDonald, academic advisor and an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology. "More detrimental is the effect that blood vessel stiffening has on the heart, which has to circulate blood".
"More and more, professional organizations are recommending interval training during rehabilitation from diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, peripheral artery disease and cardiovascular disease. Our research certainly provides evidence that this type of exercise training is as effective as traditional moderate intensity training," says MacDonald. "We wouldn't be surprised to see more rehabilitation programs adopt this method of training since it is often better tolerated in diseased populations".
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