A study shows that high intensity workouts are more beneficial compared to traditional endurance exercise for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is a major reason for mortality worldwide and its risk factors begin in childhood. This study looks at the effects of intense, brief exercise in comparison to traditional endurance exercise on cardiovascular disease markers in younger individuals.
A group of volunteer school children, 10 girls and 47 boys, were recruited, and were randomly divided into a moderate exercise group and a high intensity exercise group. The 2 groups completed 3 weekly sessions of exercise over 7 weeks. The high intensity group’s training was comprised of a series of 20 meter sprints for 30 seconds. In comparison the moderate group ran steadily for 20 minutes.
By the conclusion of the research the moderate group had trained for 420 minutes while the high intensity group had exercised for only 63 minutes. The energy expenditure estimated for the high intensity group was 907.2 kcal compared to 4410 kcal for the moderate group.
The findings showed that both groups exhibited improved cardiovascular disease risk factors. However, the total exercise time over 7 weeks was 6 times higher for the moderate group in comparison to the high intensity group. Therefore, considerable improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors in the high intensity group happened in only 15% of the total exercise time.
These results show that brief, intense exercise is a time efficient way of improving cardiovascular disease risk factors. Even though limited to relatively small sample groups, the results show significant improvements in blood pressure, cardiorespiratory fitness, insulin resistance and body composition in healthy adolescents after a 7 week intervention of different intensities of exercise.