Vigorous workouts more beneficial than moderate exercise
Melbourne: A one hour high-intensity workout provides the same fitness benefits as 50 hours of walking, a new study has found.
Also, an hour of high-intensity exercise - defined as exercise which pushes your heart rate up to 75 per cent of its maximum capacity or more - results in the same amount of fat loss as two hours of moderate-intensity exercise, researchers found.
The study, led by Flinders University's health sciences lecturer Dr Lynda Norton with researchers from the University of South Australia, measured the health benefits gained from every minute of vigorous activity compared to the same time spent in moderate-intensity exercise.
They assessed the affects on four disease risk factors; body fat and weight, cholesterol, hip and waist girth, and aerobic fitness.
More than 620 adults completed the six-week exercise programme, with participants divided into two groups and asked to perform either a one hour high-intensity workout, such as circuit training, boxing or step classes, three times a week or 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, seven days a week.
While the moderate-intensity exercisers still gained some health benefits compared to 135 adults who did not participate in the programme, Norton said significantly greater benefits were achieved by the high-intensity exercise group.
"Most physical activity guidelines recommend a 30 minute daily walk but we found that it would take 50 hours of walking to achieve the same aerobic fitness that you could get from just one hour of high-intensity or vigorous activity," Norton said.
"When we looked at cholesterol, we found it would take five hours of walking to see the same improvements as one hour of vigorous exercise, and for body mass index, it was the equivalent of about eight hours of walking," she said.