A one hour high-intensity workout provides the same fitness benefits as 50 hours of walking, a major Flinders University study has found.
And 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.
The study, led by Flinders 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 program, 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 program, Dr 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," Dr Norton, based in Social Health Sciences, said.
For the past year or so I've gotten in the habit of doing high-intensity training. With the low time commitment and a high payoff it's hard to come up with excuses not to.