Sprint Interval Training: An alternative to a 30-min run?
Determining if people adhere to a short but intense exercise routine.
Fewer than 20% of Canadian adults meet the current physical activity guidelines, which suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. The primary issue associated with exercise is a busy schedule, or someone’s perceived lack of time. Sprint interval training (SIT) is time-efficient exercise made up of brief but intense sprints followed by short rests. Typically, someone doing SIT would do “all-out” exercise for 30 seconds and then rest for 4 minutes, repeated 4 times total. Research shows that 15 second exercise and 2 minutes rest is also effective. Unfortunately, we do not know whether the average person will actually do this form of exercise because of how these “all-out” efforts might make people feel (e.g., light headed, nauseous, etc.).
Moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) (e.g., exercising at 64-76% of HRmax, such as brisk walking or light jogging) has been shown to increase cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition, and decrease waist circumference and body mass. When someone does MICT for a total of 150 minutes each week, these health benefits can reduce their risk for many chronic diseases. Research shows that SIT may have similar or even greater health outcomes than MICT. Moreover, it only takes 2 to 3 minutes of actual exercise for SIT, whereas MICT could take 30 to 50 minutes per workout. However, it is possible the general population will not do SIT because of its high intensity.
SIT is an intense form of exercise that is effective at improving health and fitness but requires less time than traditional low-intensity activities. This means it could be a good alternative for people who are too busy to exercise for 150 minutes each week. We are currently researching the outcomes of SIT and whether individuals will actually do this type of training. If you are 18 to 35-years-old and get less than 150 minutes of exercise each week, we invite you to participate in our 8-week long training study! Contact Dr. Tom Hazell (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in participating.
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